Brush Up Your Dog's Manners for Holiday CompanyThis season of celebration can be tough on the family dog. With household routines disrupted and strangers invading our homes, even the best-behaved dog can develop some "bad" manners.

Our Manners dog obedience trainers recommend a good behavior refresher to get your dog ready for holiday festivities. Take a few minutes each day to practice important commands -- including "sit," "down," "come," and "stay" -- so they are fresh in your pet's mind. You can incorporate these easily into daily routines; for example, putting him in a "down-stay" before feeding, or calling her to "come" when you play fetch in the yard.

Now is also a good time to address specific problems pet parents encounter during the holidays. The most common complaints are jumping up as guests enter the home and begging at the table.

If your dog jumps up on guests coming into the house, teach her sit-to-greet. Have her sit near the door, then have a helper ring the bell. Remind your dog to "stay" as you answer the door and your guest enters. Praise her if she stays until released and encourage your guest to say hello. However, if she jumps up on you or your guest, walk into her, taking up her space. When her feet hit the ground, name the behavior as "off." If the problem continues, keep her away from the door until you can get the help of a professional trainer.

If your dog pesters guests for food when they are eating, teach him to lie down and stay in a favorite place - like his dog bed -- while you are at the table. If he persists, give him his meal while you are eating, or fill a food-dispensing toy with his kibble to occupy his time and provide mental stimulation.

Remember that changing problem behaviors takes practice and patience and you may need the help of a professional trainer to find the best solution. Our Manners experts are here to help.