You want to take your dog to eat out with you, out for hikes, and to the farmers' market.
But, your dog isn't the greatest listener, and instead of a good time together, the outing actually becomes stressful. Over time, you end up just leaving your dog home to avoid the chaos.
There are tons of places to go out with your dog, and it would be a shame not to enjoy it together. Let's lay out the top 3 skills your dog needs to have in order to turn the dream of a successful outing into a reality.
1. Leash Manners
You've got to get from point A to B, and if you're out and about in a (socially distant) crowd, your dog has to walk by your side. The last thing you want is your dog to jump on a stranger who doesn't like dogs, or knock over a kid. If your dog doesn't have great leash walking skills, it's really hard to do anything else other than manage your dog. How will you enjoy the outing?
Even if you don't tackle any other skill down the road, you've got to get leash walking down pat, as a necessity to get through life.
In this video, I share an acronym to help you remember 4 important components to a successful walk:
2. Attention on You
Attention can look like so many different things, but the bottom line is that you want your dog to pay attention when you ask. This can be in the form of turning to the sound of his/her name, coming when called, or simply looking at you.
You might need this when:
You're out for a hike on a narrow path with another family headed your way, and you need to get your dog's attention in order to move over.
You're out at the pet store when another dog comes in, and you need your dog's attention to avoid being dragged over to the new dog.
You're both swimming in the lake and your dog is getting a little too far for comfort, and you need to get your dog's attention to get closer to shore.
There are lots of games you can play to get your dog's attention. Here's a fun one:
3. Laying on a Mat
Teaching your dog to lay on a mat is a simple yet powerful tool to have. The end result is having your dog run to the mat the second it's laid out on the floor, and just hang out there until further notice. It's a visual cue to remind your dog where he/she is supposed to be, and gives your dog his/her own space.
You might use this when:
You're eating out at a dog-friendly restaurant and want your dog to lay beside the table calmly.
You're hanging out at the beach and want your dog to sunbathe with you.
You're getting home from a muddy venture and want your dog to remain in one spot for a wipe down before entering the entire house.
Ready to teach your dog to lay on a mat? Just see below.
Going out with your dog is one of the greatest joys. Watching people "aww" over how cute your dog is or comment on how "well behaved" your dog is - makes you feel really good as a dog parent.
But beyond that, it's the bonding time together that's really special.
If taking your dog out can get overwhelming for you, start here, with just these 3 skills. Before you know it, you and your dog will be traveling to all sorts of destinations together.
You're going to have more than just a trained dog. You're going to have a 4-legged best friend to enjoy life with, where the possibility of adventure is endless.
Speaking of outings, the 3rd Annual Piper's Walk is taking place on August 23, 2020, and you and your dog are invited!
Join the walk to spread awareness for dog seatbelt safety. Dogs are family, and need to be buckled up too.
Click here for details and to sign up! (Deadline for a t-shirt is August 1, 2020)