The idea of a dog walking down the aisle at a wedding ceremony or posing for wedding pictures with the bride and groom may seem a little strange to some but if your pooch is part of the family, including them in your wedding may be an obvious choice.

Here are ways your dog can be included in your big day along with a few tips to make sure your wedding doesn’t go to the dogs (sorry, we couldn’t resist):

Ways your dog can take part in your wedding -

- A dog acting as a ring bearer is the most popular and easiest way to include a well behaved dog in a wedding. It’s fairly easy to teach a dog to carry a ring pillow down the aisle and even easier if the dog wears the ring pillow on their back or has a small pouch containing the rings tied to his collar.
- Your dog could walk down the aisle with your bridesmaids wearing a small lei matching your bouquet or stand with your groomsmen in a doggie tuxedo.
- Have him walk down the aisle with your flower girl or ring bearer.
- He could stand with who ever is passing out the programs to greet your guests as they arrive.
- If your dog is good at coming when called, have someone hold him behind the seated guests throughout your vows and when the ceremony’s over, after your big kiss, call him to run down the aisle and join you.
- For the dogs that just aren’t up to playing an active role in your wedding, incorporate them in your décor. Place pictures of your pooch on each table at your reception along with that table’s number so your guests know where to sit.

Tips when including your pooch -

- Don't forget to schedule a trip to the groomer. Your dog deserve a spa day just like you do. Try Bark & Fitz located in Ottawa(Westboro) or further west in Kanata.
- Designate someone to be responsible for your pooch during the ceremony and to transport him there and back. It should preferably be someone your dog’s comfortable with and who's not directly involved in the wedding.
- If a child will be walking your dog down the aisle, an adult should be on hand to supervise both before and after.
- Bring treats to help persuade your dog to participate and make sure he’s not easily distracted and can sit and stay on command. You may want to consider obedience classes prior to your wedding if you think this might be a problem.
- A dog’s toy or bedding can be helpful in fostering a sense of comfort and security so keep them both in the area if possible.

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