We are all ready to RUN outside and enjoy the nicer weather. If you own a well-behaved dog, the arrival of nicer weather probably creates fun opportunities to bring your dog in public.
If you have trouble getting your dog to behave in public, you likely don’t view it the same way as the former. To you, the nicer weather might mean the following: looking for a dog-sitter, leaving your dog unattended for too long, or even missing out on social events because your dog-sitter canceled and you can’t trust your dog in a public setting.
Whether you own a pup who just needs to brush up on a few social skills, or if the thought of bringing your dog around other people (or pets) terrifies you, this post is for you.
Avoid Rushed Energy
Rushed energy with no direction from humans translates to our dogs. If your energy is rushed, your dog will become anxious and confused. This can lead to unwanted behaviors such as leash reactivity, barking and lunging.
Slowly begin working with your dog in public spaces and around distractions, your dog will have an easier time knowing how to behave. If you are calm and relaxed around your dog, your dog is more likely to adopt your demeanor.
Set Expectations, Start Slowly and Provide Clear Direction
What rules and expectations do you have for your dog? If you have none, take the time to define them and make sure your family, friends, or anyone who will spend time with your dog knows them. Consistent enforcement of the rules will set clear expectations for your dog.
Start with something your dog already knows. Your dog’s skills may be a tad rusty from a winter spent inside, especially if you avoided working with them because of the weather. Adjust rules and expectations only if you’re certain your dog is ready to take on the new responsibility.
Make sure you are ready to implement patience, leadership, and the acceptance of imperfection as you both shake off the rust. (wink)
3 Exercises for Getting Your Dog to Behave in Public This Spring
1. Passing Through Thresholds
Start practicing how your dog passes through thresholds.
These thresholds include: at the door to go potty, getting in and out of the car, and even when coming out of their crate.
How your dog crosses a threshold and the energy they have, carries over to the other side.
2. Impulse Control
Help your dog remember that they do have control over their impulses.
Practice the PLACE command inside your home at dinner time and outside while you prepare your garden or enjoy your morning coffee (and evening wine for some).
3. Leash Training: Build Trust with Small Steps and Confident Leadership
Walking with your dog is a love language. They want to be led. They want to explore. Many times they end up exploring and leading at the same time.
When teaching your dog to follow, a simple trick is to change direction when they pull on leash. Yes, this means you will not go far, but it also doesn’t take long to build up your confidence and trust in each other. We build trust with small steps and confident leadership.
Start in your driveway and then around your block. Once you and your dog have your rhythm, go for a longer distance. Take your time and enjoy it!
Enjoy the Better Weather
We are all ready to get back into the swing of more. This means more distractions, more people, and more dogs in public.
If you set clear rules and expectations and avoid working with your dog with rushed energy, you will have a much easier time getting your dog to behave in public— and that means more fun for you!
*If you’ve tried all of these things but it’s still not working out, you can always contact us to inquire about hiring a professional trainer.