We were in Buckhead last Monday working with a new Home Dog Training Client and his Alaskan Malamute named Pike. Pike was a beautiful dog and relatively well behaved. He responded well and quickly gave our client the respect and focus she needed in order to control this rather large dog. Because of that, the behavior issues and obedience commands were easily accomplished. We even went outside and walked around the block to assure that our client still had control of Pike. Out client was very happy with the results and what we were able to accomplish that day. As we were finishing up, she had one more question. She mentioned that she had taken Pike to several public places and it became difficult to control him. He seemed to get overly excited and focused on everything but her. We told her that we could always come back and take a “field trip” with her and Pike to these places. She thought that would be wonderful and asked if there were any tips we could give her if she took Pike to one of these places before we returned. We were more than happy to give her some tips…
You must always be aware of your surroundings and consider if your dog is comfortable. If he is not, you run the risk of your dog barking, jumping, lunging, and sometimes even biting. You really don’t want to be put into a situation such as this and want to do everything to avoid it.
Follow these simple steps to assure a great time with your pup while in a crowded, public area:
- Be aware of your dog’s body language. If you see excessive focus on other animals or people, the tail tucked under the body, or low growling, you are about to experience something that will probably be bad.
- Just turn around and go towards the nearest exit with the minimal number of people and animals. Keep your dog’s focus on you, stay calm, and walk briskly.
- As soon as you get outside, stop and allow your dog refocus on your calm and assertive body language. If the crowd will be thinning soon, you might wait in a quiet area and then proceed again when there are less distractions. If not, you may consider leaving for the day.
- Although this may seem like you are avoiding the issue, you are really showing that you are looking after your dog’s safety in the best way that they currently understand and accept.
You must now ask yourself what can be done to fix the problem. You must create life experiences where your dog becomes comfortable and accustomed to a place with a good amount of miscellaneous activity. The best plan involves enactment through small steps:
- Take your dog to a mall (or place that normally has a good amount of people) when there are very few people. Sit on the perimeter of the area. Bring toys and even treats to keep your dog entertained and focused on you.
- Start to come at times when there are more people and repeat the above process. If your dog becomes agitated, slow the process down and start to come at less crowded times.
- Once your dog appears content and calm with the area, start coming at low traffic times and walk in the area. Still keep a little distance between you and the other people/dogs.
- As your dog shows a proper comfort level, come at times of higher traffic and repeat above. As soon as you see fear, anxiety, or aggression, slow the process down and subtract a portion of the people and/or dogs.
- Follow this process and you will have a dog that is great in crowds.
We hope you will call us at (770) 718-7704 or (770) 718-7716 if you need any dog training help. We are blessed to have been your local dog training professionals for over fourteen years. We have trained over 5,000 great dogs and loving families and are ready to help you.