Dogs are wonderful companions, but they can also be a source of stress and anxiety when they behave poorly in public. Barking, jumping, pulling, or chasing can make you and your dog unwelcome in many places. How can you train your dog to be calm and well-mannered in public?
The first step is understanding why your dog acts the way he does. Dogs are social animals who need mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy. They may resort to undesirable behaviors to cope when bored, frustrated, or fearful. Therefore, you must give your dog enough exercise, play, and positive reinforcement to meet his needs and prevent behavioral problems.
Master Basic Skills
Before you can teach your dog more advanced tricks and commands, you must master some basic skills essential for any dog owner. These skills include walking your dog on a leash, teaching your dog not to jump up on people, and teaching your dog to sit on command. These skills will help you establish a good relationship with your dog, prevent unwanted behaviors, and make your dog more responsive to your cues. In this blog post, we will explain how to master these basic skills using three different methods: the walk to heel method, the not jump up method, and then sit on command method.
Socialize Your Dog to New Experiences
One of the most important aspects of dog training is socialization. Socialization is exposing your dog to different people, animals, places, and situations to learn how to behave appropriately and confidently in different environments. Socialization is especially important for puppies, as they are more curious and adaptable than older dogs. However, socialization is also beneficial for adult dogs, as it can help them overcome fears, reduce aggression, and increase their happiness. In this blog post, we will show you how to socialize your dog to new experiences, such as finding a pet friendly place to visit, preparing a training bag, keeping your eyes peeled for hazards, and tips for success in public.
Impulse Control – Teaching Your Dog to Relax
Does your dog get easily excited, distracted, or frustrated? Does your dog bark, jump, pull, or chase things that catch their attention? If so, your dog may have a problem with impulse control. Impulse control is the ability to resist impulses and act calmly and appropriately. Impulse control is crucial for dogs, as it helps them cope with stress, avoid trouble, and follow your commands. In this blog post, we will show you how to teach your dog to relax and have better impulse control, using some concepts such as arousal, default behaviors, taking breaks, reinforcing behavior you want, not reinforcing behavior you don’t want, management, training, key points to remember, and resources.
How to Train Your Excited Dog To Behave In Public
Training Your Dog
The first step to train your excited dog to behave in public is to teach them basic commands and skills to help them listen to you and follow your instructions. Some of the most important commands and skills are:
- Sit: This command teaches your dog to sit and stay in one place. This can help calm your dog down, prevent them from jumping or running away, and get their attention.
- Stay: This command teaches your dog to remain in the same position until you release them. This can help you control your dog’s movement, especially in busy or crowded areas.
- Leave it: This command teaches your dog to ignore something they want to chase, sniff, or eat. This can help you prevent your dog from getting into trouble, such as eating something harmful, chasing a squirrel, or bothering another dog.
- Come: This command teaches your dog to return to you when you call them. This can help you recall your dog in an emergency, or when you want to end the walk or play session.
- Heel: This command teaches your dog to walk by your side, without pulling or lagging. This can help you have a more enjoyable and comfortable walk with your dog, and avoid tripping or bumping into other people or objects.
To teach your dog these commands and skills, you must use positive reinforcement, rewarding it with treats, praise, or toys when they do what you want. You must also be consistent, clear, patient, and regularly practice in different settings and situations.
Breaking Bad Behavioral Habits
The second step to train your excited dog to behave in public is to break some bad behavioral habits that your dog may have developed over time. Some of the most common bad behavioral habits are:
- Jumping up: This habit occurs when your dog jumps up on you or others to greet or get their attention. This can be annoying, rude, or even dangerous, especially if your dog is large or strong, or if the person is elderly, young, or afraid of dogs.
- Barking: This habit occurs when your dog barks excessively or unnecessarily at other dogs, people, or things they see or hear. This can be annoying, disruptive, or even aggressive, especially if your dog is loud or has a high-pitched bark, or if the noise is unwanted or inappropriate.
- Pulling: This habit occurs when your dog pulls on the leash to go faster or in a different direction than you want them to go. This can be frustrating, tiring, or even painful, especially if your dog is large or strong or the leash is too short or tight.
You need to use negative reinforcement to break these bad behavioral habits, which means withdrawing your attention, affection, or rewards when your dog does something you don’t want them to do. You also need to teach your dog an alternative behavior, such as sitting, lying down, or looking at you, to get them the positive reinforcement they want.
Controlling the Sources of Excitement
The third step to train your excited dog to behave in public is to control the sources of excitement that trigger your dog’s arousal, distraction, or frustration. Some of the most common sources of excitement are:
- Other dogs: This source of excitement occurs when your dog sees, hears, or smells another dog, and wants to play, chase, or fight with them. This can be problematic, especially if the other dog is neither friendly nor well-trained nor on a leash.
- Other people: This source of excitement occurs when your dog sees, hears, or smells another person, and wants to greet, jump, or bark at them. This can be problematic, especially if the person is unfamiliar, uncomfortable, or uninterested in your dog.
- Other things: This source of excitement occurs when your dog sees, hears, or smells something else that interests them, such as a squirrel, a bird, a car, a bike, or a trash can. This can be problematic, especially if the thing is moving, noisy, smelly, or poses a threat or a temptation to your dog.
To control these sources of excitement, you need to use management, which means preventing or reducing your dog’s exposure to the things that excite them. You also need to use training, which means teaching your dog to focus on you and ignore the things that excite them.
Bond with Your Dog with this Expert Series
The fourth step to train your excited dog to behave in public is to bond with your dog with this expert series, which is a collection of videos, articles, and tips that will help you understand your dog better, communicate with your dog more effectively, and have more fun with your dog. Some of the topics that this expert series covers are:
Understanding the Importance of Training Your Dog:
This topic explains why training your dog is essential for their health, happiness, and safety, as well as your relationship, satisfaction, and peace of mind. It also describes the benefits of training your dog, such as improving their behavior, enhancing their skills, increasing their confidence, and strengthening your bond.
Start with Basic Obedience Training:
This topic covers how to start with basic obedience training, such as choosing a training method, finding a trainer, setting a schedule, selecting a location, and gathering the supplies. It also introduces some of the most important commands and skills you need to teach your dog: sit, stay, leave it, come, and heel.
Socializing Your Dog:
This topic covers the importance of socializing your dog, exposing your dog to different people, animals, places, and situations to learn how to behave appropriately and confidently in different environments. It also provides some tips on socializing your dog, such as starting early, going slow, being positive, and being safe.
Gradual Exposure to Public Environments:
This topic covers how to gradually expose your dog to public environments, such as parks, streets, shops, or cafes, where they may encounter other dogs, people, or things that may excite them. It also provides some steps to do this, such as choosing a suitable place, preparing your dog, monitoring your dog, rewarding your dog, and ending on a good note.
Teaching Relaxation Techniques:
This topic covers how to teach your dog some relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, massage, calming music, or aromatherapy that can help them calm down and cope with stress, anxiety, or excitement. It also provides examples of how to do this, such as using a cue, finding a quiet spot, applying gentle pressure, playing soothing sounds, or diffusing pleasant scents.
Managing Stress and Anxiety:
This topic covers how to manage your dog’s stress and anxiety, which are emotional states that can cause your dog to act out, become aggressive, or develop health problems. It also provides some causes of stress and anxiety in dogs, such as separation, noise, change, or trauma, and some signs of stress and anxiety in dogs, such as panting, shaking, hiding, or chewing.
Consistency and Patience:
This topic covers the importance of being consistent and patient when training your excited dog to behave in public, as these are the key factors determining your success and progress. It also provides some tips on how to be consistent and patient, such as following a routine, setting realistic goals, praising your dog, correcting your dog, and enjoying the process.
5 Tips to Keep Your Dog Calm When Out In Public
Lots of exercise beforehand!
One of the best ways to keep your dog calm when out in public is to give them lots of exercise beforehand. Exercise is essential for your dog’s physical and mental health, as it helps them burn off excess energy, release stress hormones, stimulate their brain, and satisfy their instincts. Exercising your dog before you take them out in public can make them more tired, relaxed, and content, and less likely to get overexcited, bored, or restless.
Some of the best types of exercise for your dog are:
- Walking: Walking is a simple and effective way to exercise your dog, as it allows them to explore their surroundings, sniff new scents, and socialize with other dogs and people. You can walk your dog in different places, such as parks, trails, or neighborhoods, and vary the pace, distance, and direction, to keep them interested and challenged.
- Running: Running is a more intense and demanding way to exercise your dog, requiring them to use more muscles, stamina, and coordination. You can run with your dog in different ways, such as jogging, sprinting, or biking, and use different equipment, such as leashes, harnesses, or attachments, to keep them safe and comfortable.
- Playing: Playing is a fun and interactive way to exercise your dog, allowing them to express their personality, creativity, and intelligence. You can play with your dog in different ways, such as fetching, tugging, or chasing, and use different toys, such as balls, ropes, or frisbees, to keep them engaged and entertained.
Use a collar that makes your dog easier to handle.
Another way to keep your dog calm when out in public is to use a collar that makes your dog easier to handle. A collar is a device you put around your dog’s neck, and attach a leash to, to control your dog’s movement and direction. A collar can also help you communicate with your dog, by giving them cues, signals, or corrections, to teach them what you want them to do or not do.
Some of the best types of collars for your dog are:
- Flat collar: A flat collar is a simple and basic collar with a buckle or a snap closure, and a metal ring to attach a leash. A flat collar is suitable for most dogs, as it is easy to use, comfortable to wear, and adjustable to fit. A flat collar can also have different colors, patterns, or designs, to match your dog’s style and personality.
- Martingale collar: A martingale collar is a special type of collar with two loops, one that goes around your dog’s neck, and one that connects to the leash. A martingale collar is designed to tighten slightly when your dog pulls on the leash, and loosen when your dog stops pulling. A martingale collar is ideal for dogs that tend to slip out of their collars, such as dogs with narrow heads, long necks, or thick fur.
- Head collar: A head collar is a unique type of collar with two straps, one that goes around your dog’s neck, and one that goes around your dog’s muzzle. A head collar is designed to give you more control over your dog’s head, and thus their body, by steering them in the direction you want them to go. A head collar is perfect for strong, stubborn, or reactive dogs, as it can help you prevent them from pulling, lunging, or barking.
Carry highly valued treats.
A third way to publicly calm your dog is to carry highly valued treats. Treats are small pieces of food you give your dog as a reward, a motivation, or a distraction. Treats can help you calm your dog in public, by reinforcing their good behavior, encouraging cooperation, and diverting their attention.
Some of the best types of treats for your dog are:
- Soft treats: Soft treats are moist, chewy, or sticky, and easy to break into smaller pieces. Soft treats are great for your dog, as they are delicious, appealing, and quick to eat. Soft treats can also have different flavors, textures, or shapes, to suit your dog’s preferences and needs.
- Hard treats: Hard treats are treats that are dry, crunchy, or brittle, and require more chewing and biting. Hard treats are good for your dog, as they are nutritious, satisfying, and beneficial for their teeth and gums. Hard treats can also have different ingredients, sizes, or forms, to match your dog’s diet and health.
- Human food: Human food is normally eaten by humans, but can also be given to dogs as treats. Human food can be a wonderful treat for your dog, as it is familiar, tasty, and special. However, you must be careful with human food, as some can be harmful or toxic for your dog, such as chocolate, grapes, or onions.
Lots of practice over weeks and months.
A fourth way to keep your dog calm in public is to practice a lot over weeks and months. Practice is the act of repeating or reviewing something, to improve your skill or knowledge. Practice can help you calm your dog in public, by building their confidence, competence, and consistency.
Some of the best ways to practice with your dog are:
- Start small: Start small means to begin with something easy, simple, or short, and gradually increase the difficulty, complexity, or length. Start small can help you practice with your dog, by setting them up for success, avoiding frustration, and making progress.
- Vary the conditions: Vary the conditions means to change or alter the circumstances, factors, or variables, that affect or influence something. Vary the conditions can help you practice with your dog, by exposing them to different situations, challenges, and opportunities, and making them more adaptable and versatile.
- Be consistent: Be consistent means to be steady, regular, or constant, in doing something. Being consistent can help you practice with your dog, by establishing a routine, reinforcing a habit, and creating an expectation.
Practice lots of basic obedience.
Practicing basic obedience is the fifth way to keep your dog calm in public. Basic obedience is the foundation of dog training, which teaches your dog some essential commands and skills, such as sit, stay, leave it, come, and heel. Basic obedience can help you keep your dog calm when out in public, by improving their behavior, enhancing their skills, increasing their confidence, and strengthening your bond.
Some of the best ways to practice basic obedience with your dog are:
- Use positive reinforcement: Use positive reinforcement means to give your dog something they like or want, when they do something you like or want them to do. Positive reinforcement can help you practice basic obedience with your dog, rewarding them with treats, praise, or toys, and making them more motivated and eager to learn.
- Use clear cues: Use clear cues means to give your dog a signal or a command, that tells them what you want them to do or not do. Clear cues can help you practice basic obedience with your dog, using words, gestures, or sounds that are consistent, distinct, and easy to understand.
- Use feedback: Use feedback means to give your dog a response or a reaction, that tells them how they are doing or what they need to do. Feedback can help you practice basic obedience with your dog, using verbal, physical, or emotional, that are timely, accurate, and appropriate.
To end, teaching your dog to be calm in public makes your bond with your dog stronger. Doing the easy but good methods in this guide makes a good relationship for going out. Being patient, steady, and giving rewards are very important for getting the behavior you want.
Don’t forget to be happy for small wins and improvement, as every step is a step to a more calm and good dog in public places. Giving rewards for calm behaviors, making the time longer before rewards, and adding things that can distract your dog to the training will help your dog do well.
Keep a close eye on your dog’s comfort, always put safety first, and use the expert tips in this guide to do well in different public places. With hard work and a smart way, you’ll make your dog a calm and good friend and make your trips more fun. Happy training!