How I train my dog to behave in public areas
A well mannered dog is acceptable to bring to public places. A dog that misbehaves is like the toddler that is crying and throwing a tantrum in the middle of the grocery store while everyone else looks on.
Since I never leave home without my two dogs, their well mannered behavior is very important to me. That means that they must:
- Listen to me
- Demonstrate calm behavior
- Sit upon command
- They are not allowed to jump up on people (I keep working on this one)
- If I do agree for them to be petted, they have to sit nicely and not get excited
Who gets to pet my dog
I want my dog to see me as the center of their universe. At home I’m their source for food, care, play and socialization. On a rare occasion their “Popz” gets to feed them but it’s a rare event.
In public I want this relationship to continue. I don’t want them to see others as “petting machines” because I don’t want them running off to get attention. In fact I want them to be aloof to strangers.
That said – the Boston Terrier breed is known for it’s affection. Needless to say I’ve been working on this goal ever since they were puppies.
Their safety is my responsibility
The main reason for this desire to be the center of their universe, is because their safety is my number one priority. I need to be in control of the situation at all times.
What do I do if someone asks me to pet them?
If my dogs have been attentive and I know I can keep their attention I agree for them to be petted. I reply by saying: “I’m training my dogs to be obedient canine citizens. If you don’t mind, can we turn this into a training session. I’m going to ask them to sit down and be calm. And you can pet to reward that behavior. If they are too excited, we won’t reward them. Is this ok with you?”; and I find 100% of the time strangers are happy to oblige.
I’ve also found that 99% of children do NOT know how to approach or pet a dog. If its too crowded or too busy I’ll politely say, “My dogs are training right now. Thank you for asking. But they can’t be petted while they are working.”
And if it quiet and the parents are engaged, I use the opportunity to help train the child how to pet a dog.
As for other dogs, I rarely agree to leash on leash greetings
Maggie is reactive dog. She’s a bit tense and insecure in her greetings which cause her to misinterpret other dogs. This has led to some tense interactions and my preference is that she not greet other dogs while she is leashed.
The other rule I have is that I have to be the first one to greet the other dog. This is so I can assess the dog’s mood and temperament before I allow my dogs to greet them.
Tools to keep my dog’s attention
- High Value Treats. I ALWAYS have high value treats when we are in public places. My number one choice are the treats I get from Real Pet Foods. I also like the dehydrated cod skins from Open Farm Pets.
- “IN TRAINING” Bandana: This has been the most effective tool to “pause” strangers from approaching me. Initially they see the dogs and start to approach but once they are close enough they read the “IN TRAINING” bandanas and respect my desire for space and privacy.
What do I say when people ask me “What are they in training for?”
I respond by saying: “Obedience – I’m training my dogs to be well mannered canine citizens.”
Why do I have this policy?
I lost my first Boston Terrier to a dog bite injury. I have witnessed dog on dog aggression incidents and quite simply, my priority is safety first.
Where can I buy the “IN TRAINING BANDANA”
I adore the bandanas made by PoochCraftsBoutique. They are reversible so you can have the “pretty” side on when you’re out and about and then reverse it to the ‘In Training” side when you’re around people. Use the discount code MAGGIEORBIT10 when you purchase. Visit their ETSY STORE BY CLICKING ON THIS LINK.
You can also purchase the treats we like from Amazon:
Where can you read more about this:
This site does incorporate paid advertising and affiliate links.
Maggielovesorbit.com / Hannah Zulueta is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com (at no cost to you). These fees help to keep this site running and allow Hannah to continue bringing you helpful tips and information. Your readership and support is appreciated!