Running with your dog

by Jessica Brody, Guest Writer

 

Taking your dog out into public is a big deal.  Whether heading to a restaurant, dog park or into the hardware store, without some guidelines, your pooch can quickly become a public menace.  Here are some tips for taking your pup along for an adventure.

Begin with the basics

When venturing into public together, you never know what you will encounter.  There are countless sights, sounds and smells, and it can be overwhelming to a dog, especially without the structure of a solid training foundation.  If your dog hasn’t learned the fundamentals of walking on a leash, begin within the comforts of home.  Even if you walk with your dog leashed in your neighborhood, your pooch probably doesn’t spend much time leashed inside.  Training your dog inside your house is a great way to lay the groundwork for trips to restaurants or to crowded shopping centers.  Develop your dog’s skill by navigating furniture with him at your side and maintaining a slight slack in the leash, and rearrange obstacles to add to the challenge.  Change up your pace and stop in different places, and invite friends and family members in to see how your dog does with a crowded area.

Further instruction

Add to your pooch’s repertoire of skills by training him to sit, lie down, stay and come to you on command.  And don’t allow your dog to beg.  Even if you never plan to take him to a restaurant, there are other places where he may encounter people with food, such as parks and friends’ homes.  Dogs that beg can be off-putting, and many people won’t find it cute or funny so it’s best to never allow it, even at home.

Pick up messes

While you may be used to your dog’s hair and waste, you should never expect other people to be okay with what your dog may leave behind on your adventures.  Indy Star explains it is seen as a basic element of dog owner responsibility to clean up after your canine, and local ordinances often require dog waste to be picked up, so plan accordingly.

A few words on restaurants

Once your dog masters his skills, you may be excited to visit a dog-friendly eatery.  Taking your dog to a restaurant can be a lot of fun, but before diving in, one suggestion is to visit without your dog first.  Get a feeling for the layout and where you and your furry friend will be allowed.  For instance, many restaurants with outdoor seating allow dogs on the patio but not inside.  Some restaurants will offer your pooch a snack of his own and a refreshing beverage. Just in case, it’s smart to pack a set of portable food and water bowls.  You can also bring along your dog’s own entertainment, such as a favorite toy or puzzle.  Giving your pet something productive to focus his energy on can make it easier for you to enjoy your food and socialize.

 

Your pooch in the park

 

Dog parks offer a special opportunity for off-leash frolicking, but they tend to have a culture all their own.  If your pooch - or you - aren’t aware of the basic etiquette involved, brush up before you go. Parks maintain their own set of rules, but Whole Dog Journal explains that generally speaking, one major, universal rule is that dogs who display aggression toward other dogs or humans are not allowed.  If your dog acts in an aggressive manner, you are best not even going, as you will be required to leave and not come back. If you harbor concerns, try some interactions with dogs under other circumstances first, and if you experience issues, then dog parks may not be a good fit for your pooch’s social life.

 

Minding p’s and q’s

 

Teaching your dog some basic social skills can open up a whole world of adventure for you both.  Start with the basics and then branch into dog-friendly realms. With proper etiquette well in hand, public outings will be a pleasure!