By Drew Webster, CPDT-KA
Summer is upon us and this means both dogs and owners tend to be more active. From coast to coast our canine companions are being invited to go more places with us. This means our dogs now have to contend with more distractions and new stresses. Is your dog ready to become your constant canine companion?
Summer temperatures mean you don’t want to leave your dog in the car. Can your dog handle busy environments, strangers reaching for him and the challenges of being a well-mannered member of the family?
Here is a list of questions to ask yourself before taking your dog out to the neighborhood coffee shop or letting Fido tag along to enjoy “yappie hour”.
- Could your dog wait quietly while you walk out of sight or be watched by a friend or family member?
- Can your dog resist jumping up on counters, tables or trays if you went to an outdoor patio with irresistible smelling food being served all around him?
- Can your dog handle other dogs moving around him in close proximity like sitting quietly next to two or three strange dogs without being able to play and interact?
- Has your dog been exposed to small children, other dogs, skate boards, bicycles, strollers and lots of strangers reaching for them?
- Is your dog free of aggression when greeting strangers and able to resist jumping up and barking for attention?
- Is your dog current on all vaccinations that would be required at a doggie daycare or boarding facility where dogs are interacting in close proximity?
If you answered no to any of these it is probably going to be difficult to bring your dog out to busy public areas without first doing some training.
Recommended skills to master: sit, down, stay, quiet and loose leash walking.
Practice a small version of your big goal before heading to a busy outdoor area. Try taking your dog to a quiet coffee shop or you can have a few other dog owners meet you at a park bench and simulate the experience. Make sure you have a confident canine so you can unleash his true potential and enjoy the dog days of summer with a cool drink in one hand and your best friend in the other.