Petiquette: Asking to Bring a Pet to Holiday Festivities?
Dear Miss Fido Manners:
I want to bring my new Miniature Pinscher puppy to the holiday celebrations that are taking place at my aunt's this year. My mother insisted that I call my aunt and request permission. What should I do? What should I say?
Dear Miss to Ask or Not to Ask:
There are times when Mother does know best and this is one of those times. If you do receive an invitation for a weekend away, only ask about bringing your dog if the host is a close family member or very dear friend. If you and your aunt are close, then ask if you can bring your Miniature Pinscher home for the holidays. But, recognize that a great weekend is one in which everyone has a good time. So if you believe that your dog will be well-behaved and not detract from the holiday festivities, bring him along and enjoy yourself.
Although he may be your dearest boy, he is still a puppy. If he barks when left alone, is not people-friendly, is aggressive toward other dogs, is a destructive chewer and, to tell the truth, is not really housebroken, then either decline the invitation and stay home or accept the invitation and leave your in-need of training dog with a pet sitter or book him at a kennel for a sojourner and behavior boot camp. If your pup is housebroken, can make new friends easily, adjusts to new environments, and listens to verbal commands, only then consider asking your aunt if you can bring your pooch along.
If you get turned down, don't be upset. As a dog owner, you must accept that there are people who like dogs but don't want them as visitors in their home; there are also those who suffer from allergies. Please don't try to convince your aunt or pressure her with "love me, love me dog." Frankly, this behavior is inappropriate and impolite and may just get your own invitation revoked. But if your aunt grants your dog an invitation, immediately discuss the doggy details.
Tell your aunt about your pet's personality and habits. If your dog eliminates on paper or training pads, ask to stay in a room with a bathroom where you can easily clean the floor. If your pet likes to lounge on the furniture, tell your aunt that he will jump off if ordered. And if she has a pet, ask about that animal's disposition. You might even suggest that she pick up her dog's toys to prevent a quarrel. Who wants to spend the weekend pulling apart dogs that are fighting? If your aunt has children or other children will be in attendance over the holiday weekend, remind her that constant supervision is the key when dogs and children are together.
If you can come to terms about your visit, then accept the invitation. Don't forget to bring supplies including his food, toys, crate and the name and number of a kennel or pet sitter near your aunt's home if need be. (Check out the Web sites of the National Association of Professional Petsitter at www.petsitters.org or the Pet Care Service Association at www.petservices.org to find help.) While visiting, always try to balance your dog's regular schedule with the house activities, which could be mean feeding him earlier or walking him at different times of the day. But remember: Even the most well-mannered dogs can become poorly behaved in a new environment. If at any time your dog becomes a serious problem, realize you have to be prepared to leave and prepared to replace or pay for any items that your dog destroys.
Lastly, within a week of departing from her home, send your aunt a thank-you note to let her know that it was kind of her to include your dog, and that you both had a great time.
Enjoy the Holidays,
Miss Fido Manners
How would you deal with this situation? Leave your suggestion in the comments below!
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