Brevard County, Florida is a beautiful place to live for humans and for their canine companions. There are all sorts of wonderful beaches, restaurants, and shops to visit, and many of them welcome well-behaved canines. While a few pup prodigies seem to come with a set of internal manners, most require socialization and training before they become good citizens. As a pet parent, there are several things that you can do to help encourage even the most excitable dog to stay calm and confident when you take them out in public.
If you want to ensure a pleasant experience while taking in the town with your pooch, the preparation takes place long before you walk out the door. Here are five important steps to setting your dog up for success when you take them out into public.
Step #1: Teach and Practice Basic Obedience
Teaching your dog basic obedience commands will allow your dog to better understand what is expected of them when out in public. Commands that are particularly helpful when exploring new places with your dog include leave it, sit, stay, and heel. It is important to practice these commands regularly throughout your dog’s life, both at home and in more distracting environments.
Step #2: Choose Appropriate Equipment
There are many different types of collars and harnesses available, and each of them has its own pros and cons. Choose an alternative that combines safety, comfort, and control for your dog. A secure body harness is often the safer choice for smaller dogs with delicate necks and both body harnesses as well as face harnesses can help ensure that you have better control if your dog tends to pull. Choose a leash that is both sturdy and comfortable for you to hold.
Step #3: Burn Off Excess Energy
Excess energy can translate into overstimulation and anxiety when you take your dog somewhere new and exciting. Shortly before your adventure out, make sure you schedule a little time before your outing to burn off some of your canine companion’s extra energy. Expend their energy by taking a brisk walk or jog, playing a vigorous game of fetch, or otherwise getting physically active for twenty minutes to an hour. Make sure they get a chance to hydrate before leaving for your adventures.
Your job is not over once you leave the house, however, and there are a couple of key steps that will help promote a much better experience for both you and your pet.
Step #4: Bring Better Temptations
Depending on your dog’s personality, going out in public may be either frightening or exciting and stimulating. It is filled with new sights, sounds, people, and places your dog may be tempted to jump up on people, bark at passers-by, or just hide and cower behind you. Help them resist the temptation by offering them a better reward for good behavior.
For a food-motivated dog, bring along their favorite treats; for a play-motivated dog, bring along a favorite toy to play with; for a praise-motivated dog, praise good behavior frequently and enthusiastically. While poor behavior is hard to ignore, good behavior is easy to overlook. Make sure you notice and offer a reward when they are being calm and quiet to reinforce your training.
Step #5: Be Attentive
The world your dog experiences when you go out is very different than the world you and I experience. While we might be focused on traffic, window shops, and an ocean of faces, your canine companion may be more focused on a sea of knees and that morsel of something or another that didn’t quite make it into the garbage can.
For your dog’s safety and the safety of those around you, you must be attentive to your dog when you are out. Keep them close to your side, watch the movement of people around you, and be observant of your dog’s behavior. If your dog is showing signs of distress, help prevent overload by moving them to a calmer area or distracting them with their reward.
Many pet-parents who envision being able to simply clip on a leash and take their happy, friendly pooch down to a pet-friendly beach or outdoor shopping center are disappointed when their pup turns out to be anxious, overwound, or just plain unruly. If your dog is exhibiting these types of behaviors when you go out in public, try following these steps to improve their behavior.
Teaching your dog to remain calm in any situation not only makes for a more enjoyable companion, but helps to reduce your pet’s anxiety in the case of an emergency.
Tell us YOUR favorite tip for going out in public with your pup in the comments below!
Melanie is the owner and founder of Brevard’s premier trusted in-home pet care company. With a Sociology & Criminal Justice degree from the University of Tennessee, in 2016 she took her corporate security background and combined it with her lifelong passion for animals – that’s how Space Coast Pet Services was born! She is certified in Pet First Aid & CPR, bonded, insured, and proudly completed a full background check successfully. She is committed to ongoing training and education for herself and her team. To learn more, click here.
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