Training Advice for Bringing Your Dog in Public
If you love your dog, you’re not alone. As of 2017, Americans owned a whopping 89.7 million dogs as household pets (up from 68 million in 2000). Among pet owners, 71 percent had dogs – the most popular pet nationwide. Here are some helpful dog etiquette and training advice for owners who enjoy bringing their pups to dog-friendly public places and businesses.
To make sure that your dog is a well-behaved adult, it’s crucial that you train him from a young age. Perhaps the best way to raise a puppy is to set a schedule for him from the moment you bring him back to your house. That means feeding and walking your pup, as well as putting him to bed and waking him up, at the same time every day. Additionally, keep toys and food and water bowls in the same room or nook in your house. In many ways, raising a puppy is like raising a child, and instilling in him a sense of order will encourage him to cultivate a calm demeanor.
At the same time, keep in mind that dogs are pack animals, and they need to know who’s the leader of the pack – in other words, you. Treat your pup with respect. but also remember that you’re Alpha. Teaching dogs that you’re at the top of this hierarchy actually calms them because they can look up to you to provide or guide them. So be sure your dog obeys the commands you give to sit, stay, heel, wait, lie down, calm down, and that all-important trio: take it, drop it, leave it. But even though you are the pack leader, be a benevolent one. Never punish your dog. Be patient and consistent. Make sure training is brief and clear, and then reward him with a dog biscuit or a good scratch under the chin or behind the ears.
You’ve raised this pup, so now you’re going to have to venture with him into the world. That’s why walking is one of the cornerstones of being a good dog-owner – and why the obligation of pet etiquette in this situation often falls to you, and not your dog. The first tip of Dog Walking 101 is to use a leash. Always carry a doggie bag or a pooper-scooper, and when it’s hot outside, bring along a water bottle and use your hand (or collapsible cups) to help your dog drink. Check out Pet Life Today for reviews on items you may need when you walk your pup, including harnesses and dog strollers. When walking your dog, let him rest when he wants to, and be sure he has on a collar and tags so that if he ever gets away, someone can identify and bring him back home.
So now that you’ve done your part in teaching your dog how to stroll outside, what should you expect? First, that tell-tale calmness you were after when he was still a puppy. If your pup ever plays aggressively with other dogs at a dog park, stop the playing at once and take him home. When you take him to restaurant patios, make sure that he’s sitting or lying (calmly) next to you and never begging for food.
Think about seeing the world from your dog’s point of view – a barrage of colors, shapes, smells, and instant sensations. Everything’s exciting, and you just want to go chasing and sniffing after it all. So, if he’s not used to public spaces, you may try expanding his horizons bit by bit, like walking down a different street in the neighborhood or trying a park when few people are there. Then, work your way up to crowded city blocks once you’re confident your dog will obey commands instructing him to stay, come, and heel – often for his safety and for the sake of old-fashioned pet etiquette.
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