A successful outing with your dog is one that’s safe and enjoyable for
both of you. As natural and easy as that sounds, it often doesn’t happen unless
you prepare for and practice it. Here are some tips for making the most of your
time out and about with Fido.
1. Preparation is half the battle. Before you go anywhere, think about the challenges
you’re likely to encounter: bins full of goodies in a pet store, other dogs,
people who want to pet your dog, people walking by you at an outdoor café, kids
running around in a park, trash on the ground. Decide how you will handle each
challenge. Will you move away to create distance? Use treats to keep your dog’s
attention on you? Use commands your dog is well practiced at (sit, watch,
leave-it) to help guide his behavior?
2. Be on the lookout. Actively scan the environment so you can respond
proactively to challenges rather than reacting when the distraction is already
3. Work at your dog’s level. Is your dog ready to do a down-stay for the full
duration of a café lunch or should you start with a shorter visit like a trip
for coffee? Has your dog noticed the chew bones in a lower bin at the pet store?
A leave-it, let’s go, or watch from several feet away is more likely to work
than when he has his nose in the bin.
4. Set your dog up for success. If your outing was not as enjoyable as you would
like, spend some time at home working on the behaviors your dog struggled with.
Then pick an easier outing, such as the park during the morning lull instead of
the afternoon rush. Bring tastier treats and go before your dog’s mealtime, not