While we were out BOTH of those times (and numerous others) we were complimented on how they all behaved so well, or remarked that they would never be brave enough to even try to bring their one dog let alone four dogs into the store.
While I love getting those comments and compliments, it always amazes me that people make one (in our opinion and experience) mistake; which is to NOT take their pups everywhere they can. We’ve found that the more places you take your pups the better they behave, since (again in our experience) they get to the ‘been there, done that’ mentality.
Now that’s not to say our pups our perfect, because they aren’t. In fact, if we take one of two particular routes through town they get overly excited because they know where those routes lead; The Greenway. They get so excited that anyone jogging, walking a dog, riding a bike, riding a motorcycle, and on one occasion driving a semi, get barked at to spread their excitement of going to the Greenway.
Any other time, they just chill and lounge in the backseat of the truck or jeep, and enjoy the looks they get from other drivers or pedestrians as we pass (yes the dogs notice the looks).
Now what you should know about us, if you haven’t figured it out by now, is we live a very dog-centric life so when we make decisions on what to do, or where to go, dogs being welcome is the first thing considered, since we take our pups everywhere. And when I saw we take the pups everywhere, I mean it!
- Hardware Stores
- Pet Stores
- Our Bank
- Drive-thru restaurants
- Dog friendly restaurants
- Dog friendly retail shops (we have a few in town)
- Dog friendly Farmers Market
- Visiting friends or family
- The Vets (even if only one of them needs to go, we take them all)
- and driving around town just for the ride
Now, I am not a trainer, a behavioralist, a vet tech, or a vet, I’m just an owner who loves the company of my dogs.
I understand not all dogs are cut out for the busy and social life, and some rescues have had some not so happy pasts that need to be shown that part of their lives is over (so what works for us may or may not work for you), and for those of you who have young inexperienced puppies, slow and steady wins the race.
The big secret is exposure.
The more you expose them to varied social settings, in a calm and positive manner, without putting them to far out of their comfort zone, the more confident they will become when encountering new things and places.
When is the best time to expose them to new things?
Whenever we decide to take the pups into town, we always walk them first to take the edge off their energy, followed by a short rest and wind-down before we head to our destination(s).
We highly recommend walking them before taking them anywhere (road-trips are our only personal exception this rule), it really helps with the sensory overload of a new place since they should be somewhat tired.