Can your dog watch politely as other dogs walk by? Can your dog pass by another dog and it's owner without coming unglued? Will your dog come to you even though there are some really fun looking geese waddling by? Will your dog lie quietly by your feet as you have a picnic with a friend who also happens to have a dog at their feet? If not don't despair! These are some of the things we at Sidekick Dog Training work on in our new Dogs About Town class. It's a really fun class and this week we will be practicing approaching other dogs and their owners politely as well as learning an important tool… the Emergency U-Turn. This may sound simple enough but have you ever tried to drag your dog one way while they are clambering to go the other way? Not easy right? The Emergency U-Turn is a great tool to have in situations that may be scary for your dog or potentially troublesome, like if there is a loose dog running around. Having your dogs attention even in these circumstances is imperative and that is what we help our students achieve in this class. We are also going to have a "practice picnic". Teaching the dogs to settle when we are seated even with other dogs and food close by helps make your dog a welcome addition around the community.
As pets become a bigger part of our lives we naturally want to include them in our family activities, but an unruly dog is no fun to be around and makes for a stressful outing. Teaching our dogs polite public behavior can go a long way to keeping them included in the family fun. It can also help keep dogs in their homes rather than being given up as hopeless cases! Training in a fun and positive way increases your bond with your dog and keeps you and your dog engaged in life!
If you don't think your dog is quite ready to be bombarded with heavy distractions there are many ways to get them ready; private lessons, smaller group classes, etc. whatever you choose you won't be sorry and your dog will be that much happier for it!