Monday, December 9, 2013
Dog Safety at Home with Workmen
I am pretty sure that my dogs will be fine when friends come over, but sometimes I am not too sure that they are “happy” when we have a plumber or electrician come to fix something. Should I keep them out so that they can “get used” to the contractor or should I put them away?
You must remember the one thing that our dogs want more than anything else in the world. They want to feel safe. As their leader; their teacher; their boss; it is my top priority to make sure that they always feel safe in any situation.
Let’s first look at the situation when we have some family friends or neighbors over. These are people that I know and I have a pretty good idea how they are going to react with my dogs. If they have been over in the past, I also have a pretty good idea how my dogs will react to them. Are they good friends or “Oh, it’s you again”? When I am answering the door, I am greeting them with a relaxed, safe body language. My dogs can read this interaction and understand that I am in charge and that these “new animals” entering our house (territory) have been approved by me. Since my guests have already met my dogs on a prior visit or understand that they are coming to a house with dogs, they are already prepared for the situation and they won’t communicate inappropriate posture in their body language.
When we have people visit, we are normally with them most of the time. Because of this, we can constantly reassure our dogs that everything is OK. We can also demonstrate the appropriate way for our guests and dogs to meet to determine the level of interaction that would be appropriate between the two. The bottom line is that when we have guests over, we have already (knowingly or not) prepared for the event so that our dogs will feel safe through our leadership. Everything is fine.
Now, let’s change course and talk about having workmen or other contractors in our home. The first thing that we should understand is that the reason we have workmen over is because something is broken. We are already slightly stressed over that. When we greet them at the door, we are not greeting a friend, but a stranger. As we are trying to assess this individual, our body language communicates that we are not completely confident and that we have a little bit of a “defense mechanism” in place. All of this puts our dogs on warning that they might need to come to our rescue.
We also have no idea if the contractor likes or is afraid of dogs. They might have dogs, but beat them on a regular basis. The contractor will display that aggressive/disrespectful body language to our dogs. On the other hand, they might love dogs and our dogs might just want to play with them while they are there trying to fix our problem. All of this adds confusion to the situation and diminishes our dogs’ focus on our leadership abilities.
With this said, we have found that it is best to put our dogs in a secure location in another part of the house when we have contractors over. This allows us to be in control of their experience so that we can continue to show our leadership and keep them safe. It also allows the contractors to work in peace and to get their job done as quickly as possible.
It would be best to be with your dogs while the contractors are there. Have them in your office with you or in the back yard playing with you. This allows you to redirect their attention back to you if they start to become too focused on the sounds the contractors might be making. It is your way to confirm “It’s OK, you are with me”. Maintain your leadership and role of caregiver and you will secure your dogs’ respect, love, and obedience. If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact us at The Best Dog Trainers in Weston.