Now that the days are getting warmer and longer, we find ourselves itching to get out and about on walks, for picnics and meals in outdoor seating areas. We may be tempted to take our four-legged friends along with us, but how can we make sure we’re headed out on an incident-free outing? Canine behaviour experts define a well-behaved dog as one that is confident and outgoing – one that’s not scared or suspicious, and doesn’t have any phobias.
Lots of places are pet-friendly these days and will even give your fluffy companion a bowl of fresh water when you come in. But one thing you must do before you take them out is make sure your dog reacts well to other animals and people. We’ve done our research on canine socialisation and etiquette and put together our top 7 tips to get you on track:
- Not everyone loves your dog as much as you do.
A trained dog is a free dog, right? But what about a free dog that isn’t a trained dog? We’re used to the fur, drool, and constant jumping, but that doesn’t mean other people are going to want to put up with that kind of behaviour.
- Do the legwork.
It’s unwise to expect your 4-legged friend to know how to behave in a new environment right from the offset. Lack of preparation is often the root of naughtiness and it’s up to you to break the habit without confusing or traumatising your pal.
- Avoid retractable leads.
The perfect thing for exercising and playtime in large outdoor areas, retractable leads quickly become a safety concern for a dog still learning the ropes when they’re out and about. All an overexcited pup needs is a second to get that lead wound around your legs or theirs, or to yank you off-balance with a sharp tug.
- Be a good ambassador.
Do your homework before you go anywhere with your pet. Not everywhere is pet-friendly, and when you do find somewhere that is, make sure your dog becomes an ambassador for their kind with their immaculate behaviour.
- We all need our space.
Respect other people and other animals’ space. Approaching them intrusively or unexpectedly could lead to a response neither you or your pet want are prepared for. Want your dog to make friends with another dog? Strike up a conversation with its owner first. Want to give someone else’s pet a pat? Ask their permission and wait for the dog to come to you.
- Stay alert!
You can’t assume all dogs want to be petted and stroked at all times. Look out for obvious signs they’re stressed like flattened ears, growling, or ducking — clear indicators that a dog is uncomfortable.
- Keep calm.
When dealing with a dog, you have to assert yourself as the alpha! Be firm to keep both you and your pet safe, and remember that a calm voice is both more fun and more comforting. Dogs are highly receptive to our energy levels, so lowering your voice and drawing out your words will calm your dog down, prompting good behaviour.
Now all you have to do is put it all into practice! When you’re out together, make the effort to forge a bond with your loyal pal to build your friendship up to new heights. And remember: being a tail-wagging-worthy pet owner requires selflessness and dedication to your furry friend’s needs.