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Ask Kathy About Dog Guests...

By Kathy Santo | Updated: Feb 10 2019

During the Summer, my friend is coming to my house for a week with her dog. Although she and I are best friends, our dogs are worst enemies. What can I do?

You can’t force children to be best friends even when their parents are, and the same rules apply to our canine “kids.” Actually, it’s even more difficult with dogs, because pleading your case with them – “But Quincy, Jack is such a sweet dog. Please share your toys with him, honey.” – usually yields nothing but a wagging tail at the sound of your incomprehensible, but pleasant- sounding words.

The possible reasons for their cantankerous relationship are too many to list here, and unless you live near each other and can take both dogs through some sort of training that would impact their personal relationship, your best plan for the upcoming holiday is to keep the dogs separate at all times. 

Be aware that food, toys and being possessive about their “person” can set off a quarrel between even the best of dog friends, so you need to keep your eyes open and your mind sharp to avoid potential problems. If you’ve done training with your dog, I would recommend that you put in some extra practice a week before the visit, and double your efforts during their stay. 

A dog that is constantly being given commands (and being rewarded for doing them) is also being reminded who is running the show, so to speak. The most plausible remedy for harmony this trip is to ditch the idea of them becoming Disney-esque dog pals and keep your eyes on them at all times during the visit.

Maybe next year you’ll both have trained and socialized your dogs to the point where they’re able to set their differences aside and be civilized to each other. If not, perhaps you’ll decide on a visit without the dogs being together, ensuring a lovely vacation for all!

Kathy Santo has spent her entire career as a dog trainer and handler, training dogs and winning over 500 obedience, agility and Canine Good Citizenship titles. Working with her own dogs, she has achieved every competitive obedience title the American Kennel Club (AKC) has offered and earned the prestigious AKC “Obedience Trial Champion” title (OTCh) multiple times.

In Ramsey, Kathy teaches classes, private lessons, and oversees the training of her student’s dogs using her extensive knowledge, experience and intuition to handle problems from the benign to the serious. Her engaging personality has won her the respect and friendship of her many students, who now consider themselves part of her extended family.