Top 7 Etiquette Rules for Being a Gracious Guest!

Caution is Needed when Size is an Issue!

For many people, going on vacation involves traveling to visit friends and family. When times are financially tough, visiting loved ones often means sleeping over – on the sofa or if you’re lucky, in a guest room. When sleeping over also includes a pet, there are a few additional things to consider.

1. ASK!

It seems really obvious, and yet, all too often, people forget to check with their host to make sure their pet is welcome. Prior trips with your pet are not a guarantee that your canine will be welcome this time. Things may have changed: a new allergy has reared its ugly head; a new baby or pet has been added to the household; or, new furniture has been added to the house. And then, of course, it’s possible that other guests with pet aversions may be joining this visit. Any of these reasons (and others) may leave your host less willing to roll out the welcome mat for your dog.

2. Don’t cause a fight!

Don’t spoil a nice holiday or even a simple day trip by causing strife between one host who thinks bringing your pet is OK and the other host who would rather your dog stays home (Husbands and wives don’t always agree on this!). While it’s your host’s responsibility to know the needs of his/her family and other invited guests, it’s still a good idea to ask if other members of the family (and friends) are also okay with your pet visiting. Do ask if your host has invited any other pets and be honest about your pet’s interactions with other animals.  Remember that many hotels and motels these days allow pets; the cost of a night’s lodging is a small price to pay to keep peace in the family or ensure a continued friendship.

3. Know the house rules!­

Rules vary from household to household so be sure to know what the rules are in your host’s home. Don’t wait until you break a taboo to understand what’s expected; ask as soon as you arrive. The clearer the rules are from the beginning, the happier everyone will be.

Don’t expect your host to share your enthusiasm for welcoming your dog on the furniture or allowing your canine to share the guest bed. Even folks who have pets themselves may have different ideas of how to share their homes with pets.

Here are some house rules we’ve come across:

  • Separate can openers for people food and dog food
  • Dogs are not allowed upstairs
  • No dog in the hot tub or pool
  • No pets on the furniture
  • Dogs can only eat in the kitchen
  • No dogs in the dining room
  • No dogs in the kids rooms
  • Dogs only allowed in the fenced area of the yard

The list of restrictions may be long or short, but whatever they are, you’re in someone else’s home so respect each and every restriction. Do not argue, plead a case, or roll your eyes. To be safe, ask these questions before you assume anything:

  • Will there be restricted areas of the home?
  • Where will your pet be eating?
  • Is your pet allowed on the furniture?
  • Is s/he allowed in the yard?
  • Is it safe for your pet to interact with other household pets and children?
  • Where will your pet be sleeping?
  • How should you dispose of dog poop?
  • What will the activities be? Will they be dog friendly and if not, can my pet stay behind at the home? Will s/he be alone?

The Aggressive Side of Me! I Defend my ZipCode (Mom's Lap)!

For your own part, be candid about any potential problems your pet might pose, such as whining if your pet is separated from you overnight. Sharing this new information may result in your pet being consigned to the garage or given the run of the guest bedroom in order to be with you and keep the noise level down. Whatever the outcome, you’ll be saving your host a sleepless night if you’re honest. The same goes for potential accidents on the carpet, chewing, or territoriality near food. Armed with the facts, you can work together to come up with a strategy that suits everyone.

4. Introducing …

­Be careful when introducing a pet into a new environment. Make sure to provide a safe area, such as a carrier, in a location that’s quiet and out of the way. Let your pet acclimatize to the new sounds and smells gradually. After your pet has begun to relax a little, try introducing it to your hosts, their children and their pets. This is a two way street and it is a good idea to ask your host in advance how much experience their own children and/or pets have with other animals. Try spreading this introduction out over the course of a few hours, and always provide a safe haven, a spot where your pet can feel secure when it starts feeling overwhelmed.

One of the best ways you can help your pet adapt to new people and animals is by socializing your pet.  It is a myth that a dog cannot be socialized once it is no longer a puppy.  It is never too late; it just might take a little longer for an older dog.  Exposing your pet to new people and situations gradually over the course of its formative years is certainly an advantage.  Take your dog on walks and in the car to teach it that new experiences don’t have to be frightening, that sometimes they’re even fun and interesting. Learning this lesson makes your pet a better traveler and a better companion and guest.

5. Play with others …

­Don’t assume that because your pet has always gotten along with other animals that your pet will love each and every animal. New surroundings and situations can cause your pet to react in unexpected ways. Sometimes this can mean cowering under the furniture, and other times, it can mean growling and nipping. The introduction of new animals or people, loud noises and competition for food can all be triggers for changes in pet behavior. Until you feel confident that your pet won’t be a threat to children, other animals or property, watch it closely or keep it segregated in a carrier or separate room if needed.

If your pet is well socialized, it’ll have a better time visiting, but even this isn’t a guarantee that your pet will get along with everyone. When visiting, approach all of your pet’s interactions with caution, especially when presented with animals that are mismatched in size. Monitor all encounters between your pet and others until you’re sure that your pet is assimilating into the new household. Be particularly careful when there are young children present. Animals that are unfamiliar with young children can misinterpret curiosity for aggression and react violently. Instruct young children (or ask your host to do so) to be respectful of your pet, and keep playtime under close supervision.

6. Clean up!

There’s bound to be added mess. Pet hair, dropped pet food or an accident … all of these should be cleaned up as soon as they occur if possible. Upon arrival, ask for the location of the vacuum cleaner and cleaning products, and always travel with a small bottle of pet enzyme spray.

Pet waste should be cleaned up as quickly as possible. It’s more sanitary than waiting and reduces problems with odor. People who are unaccustomed to keeping pets can be sensitive to odors that pet lovers easily ignore. When you’re visiti­ng, don’t risk offending anyone. If you expect to be invited back, make regular cleanup a habit. This goes for waste in the yard as well. Your pet may think the lawn is its private domain, but your host will probably disagree. The quicker you remove feces and saturate urine spots on the lawn with water, the less damage your pet’s activities will do to the landscape. Your hosts will thank you. Never allow your host to do this, even if they offer or insist.

7. Sleeping Arrangements!

Four Days to Get this Close to Dusty (left) Needed Patience!

If you think your pet may be noisy at night, be candid with your host before you travel. In preparation for your trip, tr­y training your pet in gradual steps to spend the night away from you if this will be necessary upon arrival. Staining the lawn and bringing pet dander into the home make your pet a challenging guest, but nothing will cause frustration and short tempers more than your pet’s nighttime whining and barking.

If your pet is accustomed to sleeping with or near you, it’s a big adjustment for it to sleep alone, especially in a new place. So you may need to negotiate with your host to allow your pet to stay in the room with you. Offer to bring your own sheets and blankets or to pay for the cleaning of the carpet after you leave. It is always a good idea to exercise your dog and tire them out before bed to increase your chances of a long and peaceful night in a new location. If your dog is a problem, immediately offer to move to a pet friendly hotel the next day. Don’t force your host to have to ask you to leave.

Do you have any other tips to add to the list?

26 Comments on “Top 7 Etiquette Rules for Being a Gracious Guest!

  1. This was another great post!! You 3 were perfect house guests! I was happy to see all 3 dogs finally getting along towards the last day! LOL! Mine arent as socialized as little Monte. You covered every issue I can think of here in this post. People will get some good info from it!

    • Thanks for having us Marlene!! Dusty just needed time to see that his place as preferred male child was not in danger! LOL!! Maybe with the walks to the park he will at times meet new dogs and slowly grow to be more social! 🙂

  2. Hi Monte,

    These are great points. We are going to be traveling to our dad’s relative’s house for this Thanksgiving, and even though we have spent some time there previously. We will make sure mommy and daddy will ask these questions again. You made a great point with not assuming it’s ok to bring us along again. Even though we are well behaved, you never know what the hosts think of us 🙂

    Thank you for posting!

    Chloe & Oliver

    • Awe … well I do hope the answer is a resounding YES from your host!! Happy to help and if you think of anything else after your trip please share!

  3. So considerate! Yes, considerate is a great word to have in mind.. but let’s not forget the FUN! 🙂 You are perfect guests, all of you! We already miss you, big kiss! Muah!

    • AND WE MISS YOU KIKI!!! please send our kisses to Titan, Lux, Liken, Brit, London, Miu Miu, Nina, Firoella and little Giglio … oh and Alex too! LOL!! We had such an amazing time Dad is already talking about going back!

    • Kiki … as someone that often has canine guests, and as such is now an expert, what is the number one thing you wish people would do – or ask about – when staying at the Maison?

      • Well… 😉 number one is pick up after your dog! Even though we offer daily house keeping services it is expected that you watch your dog as it acclimatizes to the new environment and pick up after him/her at all times!
        2)Bring you own special diet if you need something other than great dry food! At The Maison it is what we believe and use.
        3)Expect to be among lots of dogs and of all seizes!
        4) Make sure your dog is up to date with all vaccines and is not sick! Be responsible, since this is a place where lots of doggys live and visit.
        5) Be ready to share your dog with others!
        7) A social dog capable to interacting and being friendly with other dogs and humans is a must.
        8)Bring your favorite toy and or blanket, to help with anxiety.
        9)Watch out for possible danger and be aware of the environment to avoid accidents!
        10) have lots of fun!!!

        • #4 is a REALLY good point and I did not mention that in my post so THANK YOU!! This is why I love this blog! Experience of many is better than just one!

  4. Great post, very useful, never actually been with my dogs in a friend’s house, only at mine in Crimea, where I and my girls rule the world, and few times at dog friendly hotels and B & B, at B&B they had chocolate retrievers, they saw us and made the opinion, that the hunting season began, ha-ha, but the host did everything for us to feel safe and happy!

      • You can do whatever you want on your floor, – sleep, watch TV, take a shower, sit on the balcony which is safe for dogs and my girls spend almost all their time there, but the possibility to cook is on the first floor, and my Mom will not let you cook, only eat, he-he, walking in the garden is forbidden for my girls and their fur guests, because the guard dog Chan (the breed is Chow Chow is on duty, and he is really dangerous to other dogs, so I have him locked, then we go out, I let him go), but we walk in a forest near our house and everywhere. Yalta is dog friendly for the most part, but I keep my girls on a leash, because I’s safer for them, I think. Do such conditions suit you, Monte, if you need something ask and let me know!

        • So the kitchen is for eating only! Got it! and there is a big scary dog outside … also good to know! But it seems like a GREAT place!! maybe one day we will drop in and say hello! we would love that!

  5. This is a great article! What etiquette and style!!! Our Pepi is a little non-socialized, but I hope that when we meet with a little patience everything will be fine! And if we have a little money and some luck in the spring he will go to school!
    P.S. In our home there is only one rule – after a walk on the street – always bath!
    So eagerly awaiting our DEAR GUESTS!!! Big Hugs and KISS :)))

    • AH!! good to know! a bath after a walk on the streets! good … we will make sure to bring our shampoo or I may bring my rubber boots to keep my paws nice and clean for your home! WE CAN NOT WAIT TO SEE YOU! We are so honoured and so happy to come over and spend time with you and discover your country. We are counting the days! SEE YOU in the new year my dear friends! (To Pepi: all will be well!)

  6. I remember going to our good friends home for dinner with MAX and they had also invited their American cousins. Our friends have two golden doodles and Max is a one hundred and twenty pound Bernise Mountain Dog.

    Later in the evening after a few drinks, they asked “Does everyone bring their dogs when invited over to someone’s home for dinner? ” …. we all laughed … yes it seemed that in our circle of friends all do.

    Even to this day, I always ask the homeowner if it is OK to bring MAX even if he has been there many times before. You never know who may be coming, perhaps the dress is more formal and dog hair wouldn’t be appreciated, there may be elderly people that he could knock over …etc. Maybe it would be too loud and MAX would prefer to nap at home. There are a lot of considerations and none should be taken lightly. If you are not sure , don’t bring your dog or stay home …’s as simple as that don’t you think ?

    • I agree Joan 100% if in doubt just do not. Better to miss your pet then to have a terrible incident that could leave many hurt or upset. We always ask as well. When it is a really close friend sometimes it is an unspoken agreement – or just an agreement made ahead of time so you no longer need to ask. But still – better to be safe than sorry.


    • An act of virtue indeed! not just one God but SIX of them! wow … they took that seriously! We miss you guys SO much!! Stefan wishes we had had the time for that art lesson with you Anastasia and going to the Gym with George. Mom wishes she had that special Borsht and more cooking lessons! AND thank you SO much for being MAZING guides! Miami has a LOT to offer. WE WILL BE BACK!! Now … off to download that song! HUGS to you and the parrot, cats, and dogs too!

  8. OMG! that pic of you defending your zipcode is so like Pepi!!!!! he’s the exact same. No cat is allowed in our arms when he is around… same agressiveness. BUT we are working on this. 🙂
    Pepi is always allowed at my parents’ house, my mom would not let me in the house if he was not with me, but not everybody is happy to see your dog. Always ask first! Even when people tell me that it’s an “open invitation” for the dog, I still ask. You just never know. Maybe that day some other dog will be there who is not as friendly as your hosts are, or maybe there is someone else coming who has allergies or who is afraid of dogs. Best to ask unless you are ready to turn away and go back home. Good article!

    p.s. I also like to bring a baby gate if I am going somewhere if I know he will not be allowed to the second floor or basement. Pepi loves to investigate, so I would rather have the area gated off than having to look for him, and maybe even find a “special treat” on the floor! 🙂

  9. I like your list of questions. I will admit that I have not asked many of them BEFORE HAND and probably haven’t been the most gracious of guests at times. However, if pets aren’t allowed on the furniture, bringing Chester and Gretel is probably not an option. They are allowed on it at home and don’t know to stay off. I CAN compromise though and as long as they can be “on” the furniture on my lap we would probably be ok.

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