dogs life hound honour thumb

There’s no doubt about it, a dog is definitely a man’s or a woman’s best friend. It’s no surprise that for many pet owners, family celebrations wouldn’t be the same without their pooches.

As pets are an integral part of family lives, more couples are including them in one of the most important days in their lives. People take all sorts of animals to their weddings but the most common are dogs.

Ready to steal the show

If you are looking for the cute and fun factor by creating an Oscars film awards moment, then a dog will steal the show. A dog can stand and look adorable in the photos as guest of honour – who doesn’t laugh at a dog in a tux – or walk down the aisle as a ring bearer to squeals of oohs and aahs from the delighted guests.

But before you give your dog a starring role, remember the saying: never work with children or animals. Once you’ve taken off your rose-tinted glasses, there’s no guarantee that your pet will behave exactly how you want him or her to on the wedding day.
So if you want to try and keep everything sweet in the canine world, it is worth considering whether your dog is up to the role or if there’s a risk your four-legged friend will turn from adorable to annoying in one swift wag of the tail.

It's a dog's life to be a hound of honour

Leave shy dogs at home

Firstly, be honest with yourself and decide whether your dog has got what it takes to be in the limelight. Weddings can be stressful for humans at the best of times, so imagine how overwhelming it could be for a dog that doesn’t cope well in new environments or around strangers.

Sociable dogs that are outgoing and friendly usually cope better with the extra attention they will receive. Shy dogs are best left at home because they are likely to become stressed by the busy environment. After all, you don’t want to spend your day worrying about the dog or regretting that it was a bad idea.

Check out the pet policy

Decide in which part of the ceremony you want to include your dog. Avoid taking him or her to the reception as it can be overwhelming and noisy, plus there’s the distraction of food!

Some venues have a strict no-pet policy so make sure that you hold your wedding in a place that allows dogs. Tell your bridesmaids and groomsmen about the doggie invitation. Some people have pet allergies and may need to take a preventative medication beforehand.

If the dog is going to be ring bearer or hound of honour, it’s essential to really prepare for the tasks she or he will be doing during the ceremony. For example, if you want your dog to be a ring bearer how far will the dog and handler have to walk and how will the rings be carried?

You need to ease any concerns that the dog will behave properly by finding the right person to be with your dog at all times throughout the ceremony. Do a lot of rehearsals with the dog and leave plenty of time to practice during the actual rehearsal so that your dog and handler know exactly what to do and when. The dog handler needs to keep a supply of dog treats handy.

It's a dog's life to be a hound of honour

Well-controlled around guests

Like you, the dog has to look its best for the big day so take him or her to be washed and groomed; it means not only will the dog look good but also smell good. On the day, feed the dog early to avoid poop-scooping at the most inappropriate time! The dog also needs access to water on the day.

Make sure that your dog is well controlled around your guests – no one likes a jumping dog or appreciates paw marks on their best clothes. Keep a stain-remover pen on hand just in case!

If the dog has a tendency to jump, and you have time, work on teaching him or her to be better behaved and train the dog to greet people by sitting and lifting his or her paw. A younger dog tends to be more excitable and, if that’s the case, it needs to be kept under control on the lead.

Looking back at the wedding photos, you will be pleased to see that in some of them your sweet dog will be centre stage.

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