Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only, and should not be taken as expert advice.
For many pet owners, going out with the dog is a daily occurrence. Some animals seem to flourish in public spaces and don’t mind waiting patiently for their owners to finish eating or engaging in an activity, but others need a little training before they’re ready to go out and socialize. If your dog is older than a few years, it may take a little longer to teach him how to be polite when he’s around other dogs or people, so try to stay patient as both of you learn how to make the most of a new situation.
It’s important to get familiar with which spaces in your area are dog-friendly. Many restaurants have outdoor seating and are perfectly accommodating of pups as long as they are on a leash and don’t bother the other patrons, but it’s best to check their website before heading out, just to make sure. Other businesses allow dogs only if they are service animals.
Keep reading for some great tips on how to help your dog learn to mind his manners in public.
Starting small when it comes to your dog’s exposure to new people and places will help both of you immensely. Overstimulation can become a big problem very fast, as dogs can see, hear, and smell things that we can’t due to their heightened senses. Socializing an animal takes time, so work your way up to a restaurant or dog park by having playdates at home with one other animal and their owner. Look for his strengths and weaknesses; for instance, if he’s anxious around small children, knowing that he doesn’t like to be approached from behind will keep everyone safe.
Have the right tools on hand
No matter where you choose to take your dog, it’s imperative to have the right tools at your disposal to keep him safe and occupied. This might mean having a collapsible bowl for water, bags to pick up waste, and a good leash and collar, or you can invest in a good harness that will prevent him from choking if he pulls on the leash. Go here for a list of the best leashes and look for one that will meet your needs.
Know how to keep things under control
If your dog becomes agitated at the sight of other dogs, it’s important to know how to keep things under control when you’re out, whether you’re in public or just on a walk. Being knowledgeable about animal behavior and what signals to look out for will help you prevent an incident, so watch out for rigid stances, laid-back ears, and bared teeth/growling are all signs that a dog is ready to attack; read on here for some great information on how to keep a handle on things.
Keep your pet comfortable
When your pet is comfortable, he’ll be less likely to become agitated or impatient when you’re out together in public. Keep water, treats or snacks, and anything he needs for the bathroom handy when you’re out, and make sure he has access to them often. Find a soft, cool spot for him to rest while you eat or socialize, and remember to watch the weather. When it’s too hot, your dog may suffer with heat stroke or dehydration. Too cold and hypothermia becomes a concern when you’re outdoors for extended periods.
Helping your dog to mind his manners in public is to benefit both of you, so don’t be afraid to keep trying even if he resists a little at first. Older dogs may need more time to adjust to new experiences, so don’t just dive in; take it slowly and allow him to find his way. With a good plan, the two of you will have a blast.