A growing number of pet owners are including their dogs in their weddings, and according to a recent survey, almost 40 percent of dog owners let their fur babies play a part in their nuptials. In most cases, the pet was present at the event, while other couples chose to incorporate their pup in the celebration's theme, invitations or decorations. Involving your dog in your wedding is a great way to personalize your event, and it sends a clear message that your pooch is an important part of your life. If you're about to tie the knot and you're thinking about giving your dog an important role at your wedding, you'll need to train them so that they can be on their best behavior on your special day. Here's a guide to train your dog for your wedding.
Practice walking down the aisle with your pup
One of the easiest ways to involve your pet in your wedding is to assign them ring bearer duties. Brides can also walk with their dog down the aisle, while grooms can assign best man duties to their beloved pet. For these roles, you'll need to train your dog to walk down the aisle properly. At least four months before the big day, start the training session by creating an aisle in your backyard using a couple of chairs. You could also lay down a strip of faux turf to serve as the carpet. Play your chosen music for the processional, and walk your dog on a loose leash, making sure that they're not pulling ahead, but walking right beside you. Once your dog walks at the right pace, reward their good behavior with a treat: positive reinforcement can help your dog to remember how to walk down the aisle on the day of your wedding.
Continue training in public places
Once your dog has perfected walking alongside you in a relaxed manner, it's time to take their training to the next level. Train in public places, such as the park, or even the aisle in a dog-friendly store. Doing so will allow your dog to practice within the vicinity of distractions such as vehicles, other dogs and people, and this will help them to get used to them. Moreover, practicing in public enables you to teach your pet to focus on you and listen well to your commands, even when there are other things that may occupy their attention on your wedding day.
Let your dog attend the dress rehearsal
The final stage of your dog's training should take place at your dress rehearsal. For this day, let your dog wear their outfit and any other items that they should wear for the wedding, such as a special leash or harness, or a collar with a cushion for the rings. Get to the venue early so your dog can get accustomed to the place and greet the rest of your wedding party. Do some practice runs before the actual rehearsal, and don't forget to give them a treat for good behavior.
On the day of your wedding, make sure that your dog is walked and fed, and has gone to the toilet so that they stay calm and focused throughout the day. If you're unable to do these things, ask a relative or hire a dog sitter for the day so your pooch will be taken cared of. A few minutes before the wedding starts, take a moment to bond with your pet, and then get ready to walk down the aisle. With some practice, patience, and lots of love, your dog will surely be on their best behavior as they celebrate your special day with you and your partner.