April 12, 2021
It happens to all of us. We take our dog out for a walk or to the doggy park and they're a ball of furry energy. Meanwhile, you see another dog walking elegantly on a leash and appears so obedient. And you ask yourself: “Why won’t my dog act like that?”
The answer is simple: Training. If you want a well-behaved dog, it’s your responsibility to make it happen. It’s not as difficult as you might think. Here are seven basic tips to help your dog to be comfortable and obedient in public:
Before you make your public appearance, make sure your dog has had a little exercise at home. If your dog is carrying excess energy, it will be much more difficult for you to manage his behavior. Outdoor play (playing fetch, hide-and-go-seek or any other activity that burns energy) is a smart move before taking your furry buddy to a public space.
Remember: It’s not about you, it’s about your dog. If your goal is for your dog to be your companion in public, it is imperative that you put yourself in your dog’s shoes (or paws). Try to anticipate possible distractions and dangers. Observe your environment as your dog might. What are the smells? Are there other animals around? Is your dog’s tail wagging? Think of yourself as your dog’s interpreter and keep him out of harm’s way.
Your dog responds to your commands. If he struggles in public, it is an indication that you need to spend more time helping him learn proper behavior. Remember: Your dog WANTS to please you and will respond to your wishes if you are consistent with training. If your dog is acting “disrespectful” or “difficult” or “wacky,” it just means more teaching is required.
The AmericanKennel Club offers this wise training advice: “Keep visits short andbuild duration slowly. Perhaps this is your dog’s first visit to a coffee shop!Plan to stay for five minutes. Possibly the first time you go to the patio, youplan to go to the coffee shop when it is closed and therefore you do not evenorder coffee. You just practice your dog lying calmly on his towel next to youat the patio table or nearby public bench. Next time you may stay longer andactually order a drink.”
Before you attempt to take your dog to a public space, youneed to make sure he or she is properly trained to walk with a leash. Thisshould begin the first day you bring your dog into your home and repeated dailyfor a minimum of 15 minutes. The goal is to make it fun and positive for yourbuddy, not a punishment or “work.” Once your dog understands how to behave on aleash, public outings will be a breeze.
“If you want your dog to behave in public, really work ongetting him to pay attention to you,” according to the website ThatMutt.com.There will be tons of new stimuli for your dog. Let him or her experience itall: smells, sights, sounds. But give your buddy treats and praise when helooks at you. The two of you are a team and eye contact is the best way tocommunicate with each other.
The folks at GoodDogCoaching.comsuggest bringing along some tasty treats to reward good behavior. They suggestproviding treats that are a notch or two above the “regular” treats. “Whatevertreat you have has to be MORE interesting/exciting than the distraction orenvironment he is currently in,” according to the website.
If you follow these tips and use some common sense, your dogwill make you proud the next time you go out in public together. Practice andpatience!