Taking your dog on jaunts around town is a great opportunity for socialization and some light training.
These adventures allow me to evaluate how my dogs interact in different crowds, meeting new people, and meeting other dogs. While I may not get in a great deal of formal training, I will be expecting polite behavior from Bernie and Lizzie.
If your dog wants to meet people, you can use a pup field trip to re-inforce your expectations for a sit or four paws on the floor. Just explain to people that you are training, so if you suddenly say "uh-uh" or "no" or your marker word, that negative marker is directed at your dog for trying to jump, not the friendly stranger who just wants the pets. Most people will be on board with helping you train.
If you're eating, you can sit on your dog's leash and direct your dog into a down. With both Bernie and Lizzie, I had practiced sitting on their leashes during their puppy class days while I would work at my desk. They've learned to settle down when I'm blogging. If we're out at a restaurant, it takes them longer to settle down because there are so many distracting sights, smells, and sounds, but they will relax and just enjoy the patio.
If you're attending a charity walk with your dog, you're probably going to have to fill out some paperwork. That's a great time to have your dog practice sitting politely.
If you're at an event hosted in a pet-friendly hotel, ask if you could take your dog into the elevator.
As you walk around the event, store, or restaurant, you can also be on the lookout for trash and objects on the ground. Bernie and I hit the sniffs jackpot one night at a restaurant. Someone had left their clearly dirty linen napkin on the ground. As we approached from a few feet back, I waited for Bernie to notice that napkin. I firmly directed him to leave it, and he did. I will scope the ground for tissues, wrappers, and other garbage so the pups can practice leave it in the real world. When Matthew and I are walking together, I've been known to veer off-course just to give Bernie a chance to practice leave it on a tissue.
Places to go inspiration
- Restaurants or coffee shops with dog-friendly patios
- Crate and Barrel, Michael's, Macy's, Pottery Barn, Anthropologie, and the Apple Store
- Home Depot and Lowe’s in certain areas
- Local businesses
- Doggie festivals, charity walks, special events
Not sure if a restaurant is dog-friendly? Check their website. Call and ask. If you're eating there on one trip, ask so you know for the next meal out.
Does your city have a local Yappee Hour Meetup group? They'll be meeting at dog-friendly restaurants and bars. Even if you're an introvert like me and the idea of eating with strangers horrifies you, you can still check their previous Meetups to see where they've been.
Does your local paper have an annual "Best Of" or "Readers Choice" awards? If they have a pet section, they could highlight dog-friendly businesses that you didn't know existed.
When you're running your regular errands, ask at those stores if they're pet-friendly. Our CVS allows dogs. Would not have known unless I asked. If I take my car into the dealership for any work, I can bring Bernie and Lizzie.
Scope out what your friends know about dog-friendly places.
I'm actually in a Facebook group called Arizona Dog-Friendly Places. Most of the posts focus on Phoenix, but as the group grows, I'm hoping more Tucsonans will post.
Sign up for newsletters from local rescues. Our Humane Society has several pet-friendly events each year as do other rescues. Make sure you at least scan those emails so you don't miss anything.
When you attend any doggie festivals, check out the sponsors. The people manning those booths are there to chat with you. They may have a local newsletter that highlights dog-friendly events or places.