Don’t jump on Aunt Sophie! The #1 step to get your dog to greet your holiday guests politely

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The holidays are coming and if that means your friends or family will be stopping by more often or even staying with you, then it’s time to make sure your dog is ready!

Some of your visitors might be scared, have allergies or <gasp!> they might not like dogs!

Then again, your dog might not have the best manners (yet!) or might not like your guests.

You can’t reason with your dog, so what can you do?

Imagine if your dog got to know your friends before they met them…

…got to know that your friends are super close and special to you
…that your friends are nice people
…that they can relax because your friends are staying awhile

It’s possible.

If your dog hears and smells a person before meeting them, they have a chance to learn about your friends and will have time to calm down too.

How can you manage that?

The number one thing you can do is have a place where your dog can’t see your visitors but can smell and hear them.

Dogs have an incredible sense of smell. They can actually smell something 300 feet under water so if your dog is in an upstairs bedroom when your guest is in the kitchen, for example, it is possible for your dog can still get to know your friend through scent. Plus, most homes have air circulating through heat or A/C.

Once your dog has some time to relax, then you can do the proper introductions.

That means before the holiday season starts, you’ll want to get your dog to be happy and content in a space where your dog can’t see your visitors. This can be another room, in a crate or in a gated area.

So start working on this now. It truly is the #1 step to take to get your dog ready for the holidays!

Do you need help?

That’s what the Play To Behave program is for and this month and next, keeping your dog calm when guests arrive including how to properly introduce your dog and more is our focus during the LIVE calls and inside the private facebook group.

You can have a dog you’ll be proud to introduce to your friends!

Join Play To Behave and my community at:


Your dog will thank you for it. 😉

Thanks for watching and reading and now I’d love to hear from you. 

Any questions? Let me know in the comments below.

From Difficult to Rewarding: Fran Bluhm’s story

Video thumbnail of Can your dog be bullied? Even if no other dogs are around?

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About 5 years ago, Fran Bluhm of Perigueux Poodles, came into my class after some challenging experiences with trainers. She was wary and wondered if I would be any different.

It’s important that you feel comfortable and can trust the behaviorist and trainer you choose. Your dog is a part of the family and can have as much effect on your family’s well-being as any other member, not to mention the importance if you plan to do any activites or sports with your dog.

Do you feel comfortable asking questions? Is the expectation from the instructor on par with your abilities and lifestyle? Will the trainer help you with behavior issues (that almost always crop up!)?

With Fran, it turned out to be the start of a rewarding experience for both of us. She has advanced in many areas with her dogs and competed in agility.

Her success has brought me great joy and…

…the bonus is that like many of my students, Fran has become a friend.

If you’ve wondered what it’s like to work with me, watch this video from Fran.

You can get great outcomes with your dog too! Join Play To Behave and my community at:


Your dog will thank you for it. 😉

Thanks for watching and reading and now I’d love to hear from you.

Hit reply and share your experience with dog trainers.

Make waiting the hardest part

Four years ago in November, I was sitting with a huge phone book size catalog on my lap in a folding chair. It was a hot, dusty day at the large State Fair arena in Tennessee watching the Australian Shepherd National Specialty Show.

With dirt on the pages, my pencil scratched as I took notes on breed lines, breeders and rescues, carefully watching the dogs in the ring. In between, I talked to owners.

I knew I wanted a puppy that minute and couldn’t wait to hold one in my arms, snuggle and begin our life together, but I also knew I needed to do my homework… especially since I wanted another Aussie. Loving this breed is my “poison”… haha! I used to say to myself, “WHY!? WHY do you have to love this difficult breed!?”

Still… it was SO hard to wait! Can you relate?

But it is so important that you get the right dog for you and that you are the right person for the dog. You’ll hopefully have many years together so get started out right.

Watch this video before you choose your puppy or dog

Get the checklist here

Leave me a comment below and let me know what breed or rescue you are considering.

The Best Christmas Puppy Surprise!

Look on youtube and you’ll find tons of videos showing children and adults opening the huge box with the puppy inside! There are screams and laughter and tears all around and it’s SO EXCITING!!!

…BUT they don’t show you what happens later that day or the next day or the next when the puppy is peeing on things, biting or even growling because it’s become terrified.

Now that doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t give a puppy as a big gift. You can.

Just do it right so your child, parent or significant other AND the puppy get off to the best start possible and avoid causing any trauma.

First, make sure a dog is really going to be welcome and planned for in your home. Do you know what characteristics are important to you when choosing a dog? Do you have the time and energy that a puppy needs? Do you have experience raising or owning a dog?

A good rule of thumb to keep in mind is that a puppy can make a good idea for a gift…

…IF your loved one would have gotten the puppy anyway…

…AND if you give the puppy in the right way.

So if you think you might go for a puppy as a gift, watch the video below and watch for more videos coming up to help you choose that puppy or dog and for more specifics on what you need to have ready.

Watch the video here

Leave me a comment below if you think you’ll be getting a puppy at holiday time or if you know someone who might do it.

Lake House Series Video 3: Introducing Your Dog to New People

Lake House Series Video 3: Your Dog, New People, New Surroundings… What to Expect

<iframe src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/262858375?color=ff0179&title=0&byline=0" width="640" height="360" frameborder="0" webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen></iframe><!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --><p><a href="https://vimeo.com/262858375">Lake House Video Series Video 3</a> from <a href="https://vimeo.com/playtobehave">Carolyn Lincoln, DVM</a> on <a href="https://vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>.</p>

Good morning! Happy easter. This is video number three on my challenge of getting my dogs used to a new place. I’m Dr. Carolyn Lincoln with Play to Behave and you can find out more about me at playtobehave.com.

So, as you know, I’m trying to get my dogs used to a new place, new people, new neighbors, etc. They are very protective as well as highly driven and energetic. It’s a challenge, this is a a big challenge for us. So, that being said, I wanted you to go through this journey with me.

I have people visiting from out of town, my sister Mary Jane and her wife Rhonda are here. Actually, here she comes to say hi.

“Hi, it’s me. As you can see, we’re pretty scary.”

I didn’t set things up the best way yesterday. That’s kind of what we do sometimes, we all do stuff without thinking. Yesterday morning, David and I did a lot of cooking, then we went to the art museum, which was fun. Then we went out to dinner, which was fantastic, we went to Dante’s, if any of you are from Cleveland. It was nice, wasn’t it, Mary Jane?

“Fantastic. The last course included a lot of wine.”

A lot of wine, right. In the meantime, poor Pepper and Rae were basically locked up in the house. They didn’t get any exercise or interaction, and then David drove home, picked them up, brought them out here to this beach house. The next thing they knew as they came in around 11 p.m. or midnight…

“It was dark here, and windy and wavy. There also wasn’t a lot of light way out here. The dogs got scared. Well, actually, just Rae.”

… Yeah, Pepper was okay. I brought them in separately, and that was a good plan. Normally, I like to have the dogs already here in another room, that way they can hear and smell everything that’s going on. That’s usually how I handle my counseling appointments. It’s okay that we were here first and then the dogs, that’s sometimes another good way to handle it. We do that in exam rooms, that way it’s not like it’s their territory and we’re encroaching on it, in this case it’s our territory and they come in.

But, in this case, Rae was already a little nervous about the house, it was late at night, she was tired…

“… and she hadn’t gotten a lot of exercise. However, she calmed down after about half of an hour. She was just a little nervous. Plus, we had never met Rae… we just knew Carolyn pretty well. *laughs*”

Can you tell them what Rae did, like how she behaved and how you felt?

“She just kind of ran back and forth, she barked. Carolyn had given us treats, so we both gave her treats, and she took those from our hands really well. She soft-mouthed them, right? When we said ‘touch,’ she would touch. We felt frightened of her, but she was just nervous, and barking, so we didn’t want to do anything to scare her more. Within a half-hour though, we were both on the floor and able to pet her. It probably just took longer than other times, like if she had exercised a lot or we had been outside with her.”

Yeah, that would’ve helped. I think if we had been outside first, and they had gotten to know each other a little bit, then went in the house, everything would’ve been fine. Typically, at my other house if someone new comes, she might bark a lot at first but as soon as she realizes they’re a friend, she’s fine. That’s exactly what I want, I her to be protective in case Mary Jane was someone I didn’t know, like a felon out on the loose. Then I would want her to get eaten! But I don’t want her to get my sister, or anyone else that I love.

That’s what happened, so hopefully next time will go better. She’s not here now because David took her home this morning. We’re going to go to the house so they’ll get to know her a little bit better. I hope you all have a wonderful holiday.

“She’s a good trainer, I’m totally biased, but happy sister… happy passover…”

Oh, thank you.

Alright, this has been Carolyn Lincoln with Play to Behave and you can go to playtobehave.com to find out more. Keep coming back because I will keep discussing how to get your dog used to new surroundings, new neighbors, being on a leash, so on and so forth… If you have any suggestions or comments, please put them below. Thank you so much, bye!


Lake House Series Video 2: On Getting Your Dog Used To New Neighbors and Surroundings

Lake House Series Video 2

<iframe src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/262557814?color=ff0179&title=0&byline=0" width="640" height="360" frameborder="0" webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen></iframe><!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --><p><a href="https://vimeo.com/262557814">Lake House 2</a> from <a href="https://vimeo.com/playtobehave">Carolyn Lincoln, DVM</a> on <a href="https://vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>.</p>

… And this is why I took Ray to agility last night. As you can see, she’s got a lot of energy to burn and this isn’t the best place for it. It’s not safe for her to be running on these wood floors, for one thing, and it’s just too constrained in the house to have her do this. Now, we have a fenced in yard, so she can go out there, but, still, she’s not gonna want to be alone out there running around and getting enough energy burned off.

Hi, I’m Dr. Carolyn Lincoln with Play to Behave and you can find out more about me at playtobehave.com. If you watched the first video in this series, you probably noticed that Ray was off leash, and I wouldn’t recommend that to just anybody because you want to make sure that your dog is going to come when called and that you’re in a safe area. Now, at home I have a fenced in yard which makes it a lot easier. As you can see, that’s where she needed to be last night, but it’s so muddy outside that I didn’t want to let her out. Plus, I planned to take her to agility. My class was cancelled, but here’s a big benefit, and this is what I wanted to share with you.

If you take your dog to a class like agility. Or, there are many others, you could do search-and-rescue, you could do tracking, rally, obedience, etc. Sometimes you can have access to that facility for a rental fee, which is the case for me. So, for $20 I could take her there for an hour. She got to run around, play a little frisbee, practice some agility, and we used both mental and physical energy. That’s really awesome. She wasn’t dirty when we left!

Today, I’m out at the lake house again, but it’s pouring rain. I didn’t bring the dogs because I’m having some deliveries made and somebody is cleaning. And, of course, those are times when you don’t always want your dogs around, and I didn’t want to just leave them in a crate. So, they’re at home.

I was also going to scope out an area right near me that has a trail that has water, basically, on three sides. So, I feel safe on it. It’s not used very much. That’s another place that you can work on having your dog off leash. Again, you want to be careful, make sure they’re going to come when they’re called. You want to pick a safe area. Try to go during the middle of the day when there’s not a lot of people, not a lot of animals, and at dusk and dawn you’re going to see more deer and bunnies and things like that that your dog might chase. That’s another good reason to go during the middle of the day.

I like to pick places where there’s cliffs on three sides, or water, you know, different natural barriers. That way my dog isn’t going to leave me, but is also very far away from a road.

Now, once Ray gets older, like Pepper, then I can trust her to stay with me. Pepper is another story because I can’t take her off leash that easily anymore because she can’t hear. She’s going to be 14, oh my gosh, I can’t believe she’s going to be that old. But she’ll be 14 in just over two weeks. Her hearing has really gone. So, if I scream, she’ll come, but then people probably think that I don’t have control over my dog. And she can’t always hear me, like if we’re by the water and the waves are loud, then she can’t hear me.

Think about those things when you’re taking your dog somewhere off leash and you can work on recall as well as getting all of this energy–crazy energy that they have–out. Anyways, I had a lot of fun with Ray last night, and just wanted to share that with you. I’ll see you soon!

What do you want, Ray? A toy? Wanna go do agility? Wanna go jump, and tunnel, and climb?

Again, this is Dr. Carolyn Lincoln with Play to Behave and you can find out more about me at playtobehave.com. I’ll keep chronicling what is going on to get my dogs moved to a new place.