Pet expert reveals how to train your dog to be the perfect ring bearer
In the last 12 months, many of us have been bonding with our pooches at home, and as a result, new data shows an increasing number of couples now plan to make them part of their wedding day.
With over 7,854 posts on Instagram, the hashtag #dogringbearer is becoming increasingly popular, whilst Google data shows a 71% search increase for the term ‘dog ring bearer’ since lockdown began. Celebrities including Carrie Underwood, Ellen DeGeneres, and Joe Jonas have previously involved their pets on the big day, whilst bride-to-be, Stacey Solomon, also announced her dogs will wear suits at her upcoming wedding.
But how do you train your dog to be a wedding ring bearer? And what’s the best way to avoid a hiccup? We teamed with Certified Animal Behaviourist, Caroline Wilkinson, from digital pet coaching service, Barketplace, to reveal everything you need to know.
She said:“Choosing to have your dog as your ring bearer is a great way to include them on your wedding day. Your pet plays a huge role in your life and gives you a lifetime of love, so it’s no wonder you want to return the favour.”
“Any type of dog has the potential to be a great ring bearer, however you will need to do some training if they don’t know basic ques or are anxious around large crowds. As wedding restrictions are set to lift later this year, I expect more couples will want to involve their pets, after spending so much time bonding with them during lockdown.”
Which basic commands does your dog need to know?
If your dog doesn’t respond to basic commands or they’re known to pull on a lead, you’re probably going to need to spend some time on training before you brave the aisle.
Caroline reveals what commands to consider practicing a couple of months before the wedding.
If know your dog gets nervous with people staring at them, start practicing recall in busier locations where there are lots of people. This will help acclimate your dog and will give you a sense of their readiness.
Should you keep your dog on a lead?
If you know your pooch is too stubborn to learn new commands, then the alternative option is to keep them on their lead and have a bridesmaid or groomsman walk them down the aisle.
How can you keep your dog calm if they get over-excited?
Your wedding is exciting for you, so imagine how exciting it must be for your pet. With extra guests comes extra attention, meaning if they’re not used to fuss and they’ve only been spending time with the people living in your household lately, there’s a chance they’ll jump up and run wild. The last thing you want is paw prints on your wedding dress, so how can you keep them calm?
How can you stop them from barking?
Alongside wagging tails, with excitement comes barking. Barking is last thing you want your dog to do at your ceremony, but why does it happen? And how can you keep them quiet?
What is the safest way to secure the rings to the dog?
Once you’re feeling confident that your dog is ready to walk down the aisle, it’s time to think about how you’re going to secure your wedding rings to them. You don’t want them to irritate your pooch, or risk them becoming detached halfway down the aisle, so it’s vital you choose the best method.
How do you stop them from peeing during the ceremony?
Regardless of how well behaved your dog is, there’s one thing you can’t control, and that’s the natural urge to mark their territory. So, is there a way to stop your dog from peeing at the altar? Or even worse, on your mother-in-law? Thankfully, our expert has some tips for managing this problem.