Public Manners: Steppin' Out for the First Time with Your New Pooch
Judging from recent trips to my favorite local coffee house in the last few weeks, there are a lots of darling new pooches in the neighborhood. It's fun to take your new pup or dog with you to the local pet store, coffee house or out to lunch, but the first time you step out together in public can sometimes be nerve- racking, because everything is an entirely new experience...."OMG! A bird! OMG! A trash can! OMG! Hoardes of people!"
To ensure that outings with your new four-legged family member are safe, enjoyable and stress-free, we recommend the following handy training tips to ensure they become fully functioning members of society. I adopted my dog Zazou when he was two years old and have found these simple steps to be invaluable as we set out to experience new things together.
Handy Training Tips:
1. Make sure that pup responds to simple commands like sit and stay and knows how to walk on a leash. This will give you some tools to help control her during your outing.
2. When you are out in public, introduce them to as many different types of people as possible. Let them interact with kids, elderly, homeless people, people in uniform, with weird hats (SRSLY) and people of other ethnicities. When they meet these people, allow them to be friendly but make sure they don't jump. If they do, proffer a firm "No" and use a treat or the leash to make them sit before the person is allowed to pet pup again.
3. Introduce them to as many different types of noises and things as possible. Show them a balloon, a grocery cart or a garbage truck. This will help teach your dog that although something may be loud it doesn't mean he has to bark at it or be scared.
4. IMPORTANT: Be aware of your own feelings. It's normal to feel nervous when you first take the pup out or when you see another dog. However, you have to put that feeling aside when you are training. Dogs are very, very good at picking up on their owner's feelings. If they sense you are nervous, apprehensive or scared, it will only verify for them that other dogs/people are indeed a threatening situation where they need to protect themselves. Be as happy and upbeat as possible. If your dog can see that you are relaxed then she will relax as well.
5. Practice her commands. Make sure your pup learns that she has to listen to you in public as well. Set her up for success by asking her to do a simple command like a sit or a down.
6. If you are in a store, make sure that your dog walks next to you or behind you. If she is out front, she is more likely to get into trouble or startle a person.
7. Have fun and be sure to bring pick-up bags!
Lastly, be sure to watch the pavement temperature, as a blacktop tends to be 15-20 degrees warmer then other pavement so check to make sure it isn't too hot before you walk her across it.
Article reprint courtesy of Animal Planet's The Daily Treat with Janet McCulley