Even though many of us choose to keep our pets elsewhere during house parties, I think a friendly pup adds a special something to any bash. It's very important to have a well-trained pup in these settings . . . tons of new people, food, and noise can detract those good manners. I attended a birthday party at a friend's house over the weekend and witnessed a refocusing technique performed by their well-behaved pooch, Io. Called a hand touch, the doggie trainer introduced this behavior with a treat in hand, but now the pooch does it all by herself. Learn how to teach it to your pet when you read more.
- Start out with a tiny treat held between your thumb and index finger.
- Get your dog's attention so she sees/smells the treat and hold your hand out above and a little bit behind her head so she needs to sit and move her snout up – but not jump – to get the snack.
- Praise in happy puppy voice . . . and repeat at different times and in different settings. Work your way up to a point where your pup will sit and touch her nose to your fingers whenever you stick your hand out like that even without a treat in your hand. This is a great technique to refocus a pup's attention on you in public.