Next time you see me, look me in the eye and tell me you never thought or are not thinking about a lazy Sunday brunch at your local cafe with your pooch next to you or a cheeky Friday pint at the pub. Dogs are such a huge part of our lives nowadays, so it's absolutely normal to want them by your side when you go to public places and, to be honest, most dogs don't really mind it. However, there are a few things you can do to ensure your pup is not only enjoying their visit but also learning calm behaviours in urban environments.
WHAT TO PACK?
Have you heard about the infamous pub
mat yet? It's a thin mat or bed that you previously taught your dog to settle on at home and you can now take everywhere you go. This not only lets your dog know your expectations but also gives a more defined area to settle at. At the end of the day, we would all prefer to lie down on a wee blanket than the ground, right?
A filled kong toy or a chew your dog likes. This should be something that keeps them busy for a longer period of time and that way encourages calm behaviours.
I'd also have some high value treats with me which allows encouraging desired behaviours from our dogs such as calm sit when the staff is approaching, calm reactions to other dogs and more.
Don't forget the water! Most dog friendly places will likely have a bowl, however, it's always a good idea to have your own one.
WHERE TO START?
If you're getting ready for your first visits, it is recommended to start with short sessions instead of jumping to a few hour brunches. I always start with a short takeaway run and choose to visit dog friendly places at quieter times of the day, so a pup (and you) don't get overwhelmed.
It goes without saying that prior to your visit you want to have a walk to make sure your pooch doesn't need to toilet. This also helps to let some of the initial energy out. Since we want our dogs to associate cafes and pubs with settling, instead of playing active games, consider sniffing and chewing activities when you arrive at the place, don't get the pup too excited by letting every single visitor stop and play with them.
If anything, we want to let our dog watch the environment but stay calm as people approach. One of the things I highly encourage doing is, as the staff member is bringing you the drinks or food, give one treat after another to your pup and scatter a bunch on their mat when the person is at the table. This will prevent excessive barking, whining and jumping and teach your dog desirable reactions to strangers.
ARE YOU READY FOR A CHALLENGE?
Participate in the Sky Walkers Club City Pup challenge!
All you need to do is become a member of the Sky Walkers Club. This will allow you to access our partners' discounts and offers. Visit your favourite dog-friendly cafes/pubs/pet shops, record your experience and share it with us by tagging @skywalkerspack and the place you visited!
Every picture is worth 5 points, so collect as many of them as you want to win:
a free yoga class for two people at Kali Collective Yoga Studio
two bags of Prima Dog treats
a 60min dog training consultation at the Sky Walkers Pack studio or online
We're picking the winner on the 26th of March! Join the club here.
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