When your dog is part of the family, it’s natural to want him to join you on trips out of the house. But before you start taking your pooch everywhere you go, you need to prepare. Here’s what responsible dog owners do to keep their dogs safe and well-mannered in public.
Know Where You Can’t Go
Public places are becoming increasingly dog friendly as pets become more enmeshed in our lives. However, it’s not always appropriate to let your pup tag along. Except for trained service dogs, dogs shouldn’t accompany you to grocery stores or food-service establishments. The exceptions are restaurants with patio seating that expressly permit dogs.
Even if a place allows dogs, it’s not necessarily a good environment for your pet. Before bringing your dog along, ask yourself if he’s likely to enjoy the setting. A dog-friendly bar might sound like a great time to you, but to your dog it could be overstimulating.
Know your plans before choosing to bring your dog. Otherwise, you could land in a situation where you’re at a non-pet-friendly business with nowhere to put your dog. It’s better to leave your pet at home than tie him in front of a shop or leave him in the car on a hot day.
Have the Right Gear
Taking your dog on outings requires more than a leash and collar. To keep you both safe and happy on the go, make sure you’re equipped with these necessities:
- Leash or stroller: Purchase a leash no longer than six feet to abide by leash laws. Elderly or disabled pets may prefer to get around via stroller.
- Collar or harness: A leash won’t do much good without something to attach it to. While collars are popular, consider a harness for added comfort and security.
- Identification: Even the most obedient dogs could get loose if you get in a car accident or another unexpected scenario. Have your dog wear an ID tag with contact information and implant a microchip for added protection.
- Portable bowls: Carry collapsible bowls to keep your dog hydrated on the go. And of course, pack fresh water so you can refill as needed. If you’ll be away from home for long, bring food too.
- Doggy bags: No explanation needed. Attach a roll to your dog’s leash so you never forget bags.
- Car seat covers: Unless you want dirty paw prints and fur all over your car seats, use seat covers to keep your car clean.
- Car restraint: Unrestrained dogs are at risk of serious injury or death in the event of a car accident. According to the Center for Pet Safety, the safest options for canine passengers are harness seat belts or crash-tested crates secured to the vehicle.
There are a lot of dog gear options on the market, and it’s not always easy to choose the right product. For help making your decisions, seek reviews from sites like PetLifeToday.com
Train Your Dog
No amount of gear can stop a poorly trained dog from misbehaving in public. Before you start taking your dog everywhere you go, it’s important to train him for public manners.
These are some skills to train before your first outing:
- Loose-leash walking: No one enjoys walking a dog that pulls, and pulling makes dogs appear aggressive to strangers. Practice this skill in your neighborhood before heading to town.
- Heeling: Heeling takes loose-leash walking up a notch. When your dog lets you take the lead, you can respond to unexpected situations before your pet is affected.
- Greeting without jumping: For polite introductions, teach your dog to sit when meeting someone new.
- Impulse control: If you don’t want your dog to lunge at other dogs, grab your dinner off the table, or take off after a small mammal, you need to train impulse control. Get ideas for teaching impulse control at Journey Dog Training.
If going in public seems to trigger your dog’s misbehavior, reconsider taking him everywhere with you. Some dogs are simply more anxious than others and find public settings overstimulating. But even if your pup can’t hit the town with you, you can still find plenty of ways to bond and have fun at home.
Article by: Aurora James
Image via Unsplash