Saturday, February 21, 2015

Pawsitive Welcome Mat for Guests

We rolled out the welcome mat for our out-of-town house guest, the first overnight visitor experience for my dog.

Welcome Mat
In the three months my three-year-old redtick coonhound, Valentino, had been with me, I had spent time socializing him to the presence of other people and I was fairly certain he was a people-friendly dog.

Valentino had already made friends with many of our neighbors, greeting special ones with a tail wag of excitement when running into them on our daily walks.

Strangers In the Home

My dog had experienced strangers in the home, too. He behaved well with our landlord and his crew when they were here to repair the well water pump and water heater. And although a bit wary, he was okay with the bottled water delivery man from Crystal who came once a month.

Still, I was a bit apprehensive as I wondered how Valentino would react to a stranger in the house for days. I could only hope that the dog would feed off of my own excitement of seeing my friend and welcome her with open paws.

Love At First Sight

As it turned out, there was no reason for me to have been anxious about how my dog Valentino would react to my friend Chris visiting from out of town for a few days. It was love at first sight for my new dog and my old friend!

In fact, as soon as Chris sat down on the love seat, Valentino jumped right up there with her. He seemed quite excited about having a couch potato friend to share his sofa!

My Dog Valentino and My Friend Chris

Protective Pooch

Our water delivery coincided with the first evening of Chris's visit. Interestingly, Valentino was not happy to see the Crystal man, at all! He barked in an unwelcoming manner as the man carried the water bottles in the house and followed him to the door as he carried the empty bottles out.

Since this was unusual behavior for my dog, I attributed it to him being protective of Chris for some reason.  It could be that it was just too much activity and too many strangers to welcome in one day.

Valentino has now become more protective of our home, so maybe his reaction that day with the Crystal water man was just good timing. He now gives a sharp bark when someone knocks on the door and comes running to get me. I take this as a good sign that my dog is now guarding his turf and protective of his home's inhabitants. For this, my Valentino receives a "Good boy!"

But of course, this now means we are in WAIT! training — teaching Valentino to sit and wait from across the room as I answer the door and while I first greet visitors to our home.

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