Q: Your friend asks permission to bring his or her dog to your party. How can you set proper boundaries for the dog without offending your friend?
If possible, set the boundaries before the friend arrives with the dog.
Ask your friend to keep the dog on a leash at all times. The owner has firsthand knowledge of the dog and should stay close to it constantly.
Take the blame off the animal, and put it on your space or young children by saying, "My yard is not secured for dogs, and they could potentially escape." Or "I would hate for a child to act inappropriately to your dog and pull his or her ears or something."
Recommend that your friend bring toys and treats to keep the dog from being tempted by other things at the party.
If the animal needs reprimanding, pull your friend aside and ask him or her to correct the behavior, rather than commanding the dog yourself.
-- Rendy Schuchat, owner of Anything Is Pawsible
Identify party guests who are scared or allergic to dogs, and give your friend a heads-up, so he or she can avoid those guests.
Time fillers such as kongs and other toys are great ways for the host to be proactive about pet guests, as long as the provided objects are approved by the owner.
Bring positivity to the situation by reminding your friend to treat the dog for good behavior.
Simply rewarding the dog for doing nothing -- such as not jumping or not stealing food -- is an opportunity for the host to keep both the dog and the owner on a track to success.
Above all, find the nicest way possible to simply remind your friend to be respectful of other people.
-- Brandi Barker, a certified professional dog trainer at Barker Behavior Inc.
Social Graces is a series asking two experts for advice on awkward situations. Responses are edited for space and clarity.
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