Fear and anxiety are miserable emotions. Whether a threat is real or imagined a freaked-out dog wants drive off a scary monster – who might retaliate. But if he could stay occupied… You know that if he eyeballs another alien invader (anyone other than you) he could lose control all over again. You need to keep him working.
Put your hungry dog in the bedroom with a food toy prior to your friends arriving. After everybody was seated and settled try bringing your nervous Nellie out on-leash to find – a “lick mat” smeared with whatever she can’t resist. Dogs will labor for extended periods, focusing on the narrow food-packed grooves, to reach every bit of liver pâte, peanut butter, or whatever. And when they’re done, they are tired.