Forget the best man, what about man’s best friend? The experts at Royvon Dog training discuss the logistics of inviting your dog to the big day…
When wedding season comes around, Royvon Dog Training always receive plenty of requests from brides and grooms-to-be for help with training their dogs to take part in the wedding. Darren James, MD of Royvon Dog Training has worked with many customers to ensure their pet makes a positive contribution on the big day.
“There are lots of reasons that people want their dogs at their wedding. They see them as part of the family and don’t want to exclude them from such an important event. In some cases the dog was part of the reason a couple met in the first place. The dog might be a working companion or even a guide or assistance dog,” says Darren.
As well as training the dogs, Royvon encourage couples to consider the problems that can arise when they involve their dog in the wedding. Darren explains: “If a dog’s temperament is right, it’s perfectly possible to have them attend a wedding. The key is planning, training and involving your pet in every step of the build up to the wedding.”
Here the Royvon team give their advice for including your dog in your wedding:
Ensure your wedding venue allows dogs
It would seem obvious, but it’s amazing how some couples forget to ask. While many venues are now dog-friendly some still are not, particularly when it comes to churches and chapels. Some venues allow dogs in outside areas but not inside. So make sure your dog is welcome before making any plans or see if the venue will make a special concession for you.
Allocate a minder
Decide who will be the dog’s carer for the day and ask them in advance so they are prepared. No matter how dedicated you are to your dog it’s just not possible to be with them all day, particularly during the ceremony itself. So find a friend who can take care of your dog during the time they are there, preferably someone your dog is familiar with and who knows how to handle your pet
Plan the dog’s day and get them trained
Think through what your dog will be doing during the day. How much do you want them to be involved? Dogs can easily be trained to deliver the rings during the service, carry the train (although the dress design would need to be considered), be part of the wedding procession on the walk up the aisle or perhaps act as a ‘flower’ dog. If you do want your dog to take part allow plenty of time for pre-wedding training.
Dealing with crowds and unfamiliar places
Can your dog handle being amongst crowds of people? And does their behaviour change when they are in unfamiliar places, perhaps becoming more excited or anxious in these situations? Again, training can help overcome dealing with a crowd. Taking your dog to crowded places and events regularly on the run up to the wedding will help. The same applies to the venue. Make sure you visit with your dog and take them when you run through rehearsals. This will help to minimise any additional curiosity or anxiousness and ensure they are calmer on the day.
Keeping your dog in the picture
You will no doubt want to have your dog’s attendance at the wedding included in the wedding album. Make sure you talk to the photographer about how this could work and the photos you want. Training will help to make sure they are obedient when it comes to commands to stay and sit. Don’t forget to ensure that your allocated minder has a pocket of treats to encourage your dog’s best behaviour. This is especially useful when it comes to sitting still for photos!
Will your dog get a good reception?
Consider what happens during the wedding reception, especially when guests are eating. You might be happy to have your dog around at mealtimes but it’s not acceptable to everyone. And if your dog has a tendency to beg or snatch food then it’s best to keep them away at this time. In which case, you need to plan where they will go. Is it a good time for a long walk, can they stay in a room at the venue or should they be taken home at this point?
If you’ve considered all of these points, and are keen to go ahead with having your dog attend your wedding, also remember the following:
- Ensure your nominated dog carer is aware of all the plans and timings for the day.
- Make sure there is water available throughout the day, especially if the wedding is during the hot summer months.
- Do you need food available too? Weddings can be hungry work!
- Run through the commands and training with your dog prior to the service.
- Ensure your dog is under control at all times.
Darren James knows that you don’t have to be barking mad to have your dog at your wedding. His customers are proof that it can work and, with proper planning and training, there can be lots of fun and wagging tails all round
Royvon Dog Training and Dog Hotels have three locations in the UK, so visit royvon.co.uk now or call 0208 819 7374 to speak to one of the trainers about including your dog at your wedding.