As places such as coffee bars & dog friendly retailers begin to reopen, we may want to consider how to introduce our dogs again to this way of life if considering including them.
I used to have a great time with Luna going in a coffee bar after a walk, or if we’d worked with clients as it was a nice break for us both to relax before heading home or working again. Lockdown times have created many new experiences for us & our dogs in unprecedented ways. Many lifestyles have been completely changed, and our dogs would have felt those changes also.
Every client I have worked with would have expressed some differences in their dogs behaviours over the past year, and with more changes on the horizon now is the time to prepare once again for what we want to create with our dogs. Some people will have puppies that have never been into a coffee bar or a pub, retail shop, adult / adolescent dogs that were taken into busy establishments may feel anxious about doing so again.
These are all things to consider and explore the what, how & why with our dogs:
– What would you like to experience?
– Why would you like to experience it?
– How is that a possibility?
My tips for this are:
- Walk your dog before you stop somewhere such as a place to purchase drinks/food so they have got their walk first and are more likely to settle.
- Gradually introduce your dogs to outside vendors where there is adequate space for movement and familiar to being in places where they go for walks.
- Stay for a short amount of time so your dog gets used to the process incrementally. 10 mins / 15 mins / 20 mins and so on.
- Consider taking a small amount of food for your dog with you so when you stop and take a break your dog associates the experiences with some receiving food.
- Go on a walk with friends/family and dogs that your dogs gets on well with, then go together and stop somewhere. Feed the dogs with adequate space and monitor their behaviours.
- Discourage excitement around such places so your dog associates them with being calm and relaxed. It’s always better to take your dog somewhere you want to relax when your dog is also calm.
- If your dog is over-excited then either give them a longer walk, or go another day and take your time visiting somewhere.
- Always maintain safe space for your dog so they have room to feel relaxed & to enjoy going places with you. I always avoid places where there are many dogs as it could be a disaster if they react badly to each other.
- Lead your dog in so you are in control of what is in the foreground and not your dog. Make the decisions to enter or leave and never leave that decision to your dog as if there is another dog close by there could be an issue.
My rule is if the way is clear then enter, if the space is cramped with either many people or dogs then do not enter.
Enjoy getting back to taking your dogs out to more places and remember to always have your dogs wellbeing in mind wherever you venture.