Public Manners: Steppin' Out for the first time with your pup!
It's fun to take your dog with you to the local pet store or out to lunch, but the first time you step out together in public can be nerve racking for both you and your dog! To ensure that your outing is enjoyable and stress-free follow these simple tips:
- Make sure that he or she 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.
- When you are out in public, introduce her to as many different types of people as possible. Let her interact with kids, the elderly, homeless people, police officers, etc. When she meets these people allow her to be friendly but make sure she doesn't jump. If she does, tell her no then use a treat or the leash to make her sit before the person is allowed to pet her again.
- Introduce her to as many different types of noises and things as possible. Show her 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 she has to bark at it or be scared.
- 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 owners' 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Have fun and be sure to bring pick-up bags!
Last but not least, watch the pavement temperature. Remember that the blacktop tends to be 15-20 degrees warmer than other pavement so check to make sure it isn't too hot before you walk her across it!