We’ve all had the conversation before leaving the house - “Should we take the dog?”.
You’re going somewhere busy and crowded, and you’re worried that your dog won't behave, will be overwhelmed or be uncomfortable and hot.
Being out and about with your dog in busy places can be stressful for you, and for them. Whether there is a risk they may be stood on, tripped up over, have other dogs be unfriendly towards them (or visa-versa) or unexpectedly cuddled by a well-meaning child, or even just the way the dog may react to the new and exciting stimuli around them, deciding whether or not to take your dog with you can feel, at times like a difficult decision.
With summer now in full swing, and invitations to country shows, busy restaurants, outdoor concerts, beach trips and even bustling high streets flooding in, we’ve pulled together some simple tips to help you relieve the stress and control your dog in crowded places.
We’re all for everywhere being dog-friendly, and dog welcoming, but just because somewhere allows you to take your dog, doesn’t mean it's right for every dog. If being around loud noises isn’t going to be right for your pooch, don’t take them to the steam fair, or the rock concert. If they struggle to control themselves around food then taking them to a street food market may not the best place for them to be.
If you currently have a puppy, try and safely expose them to crowds, sites, smells, sounds, dogs and people as early as you can. It will definitely pay off in the long run.
This simple command will be a game changer. It will help to keep your dog and those around him safe, as he will walk closer to you and be easier to control. Start with short walks, and gradually build up the distance as the dog learns.
Crowds need leads. Even if your dog is incredibly well behaved and listens well, crowds change things. Keep your dog on a lead. It will keep your dog safe, and also those around you. Use a short lead, not an extending one to prevent trip hazards.
Like anything, you need to build your dog up to a big event. Don’t start with a giant busy show for their first exposure to a busy event. Instead, consider going to a smaller quieter places and build them up gradually.
It can be easy to forget to stay focused on your dog when you’re out with friends and family having a nice day, but your dog needs you to keep an eye on them at all times. For their safety and others. It’s very easy for a dog to eat something dangerous whilst you're distracted, or wander somewhere they shouldn’t. Before heading out, agree who is responsible for the dog and if that switches across the day, verbally say to whomever you're ‘handing over to’ that they are now responsible for the dog, and wait for their response.
Just like a child and some adults (!), if your dog is hungry or thirsty their behaviour will decline. If you’re out for a long day consider taking a meal with you, as well as treats or chews to keep them occupied throughout the day. The simplest way to do this is to grab your Caboodle tray for the day and a collapsible bowl and you’ll have everything you need to keep them topped up!