Public Places to Train Dogs

Introduction:Europeans live much closer together and take their dogs into stores, pubs, restaurants, and places that shock most Americans, yet the dogs don't cause problems and aren't considered a health concern around food. What's the difference? Training, or more specifically, public training. Dogs in Europe tend to be much better behaved and better trained in comparison to their American counterparts. While the States may not be ready for dog friendly eateries, there are many places that readily accept canine customers and thus offer a plethora of options for training dogs in public.

  • 01

    Pet Supply Stores

    Nearly all pet supply stores such as Petco and PetSmart welcome all leashed pets, not just dogs. They may even have an area specially for training. Walking up and down aisles close to the shelving helps teach heeling. Walking past treats and dog food on low lying shelves help with leave it. Exposure to other dogs helps with socialization and desensitization.

  • 02

    Home Improvement Stores

    Hardware and home improvement stores such as Lowe's, Home Depot, and Ace welcome leashed dogs. Always ask new stores in advance because some like Menards are not dog friendly. Such stores expose dogs to new experiences, sounds, flooring, and people.

  • 03

    Veterinarian's Office

    Who's more dog friendly than your vet? True, many dogs fear the site, but not mine. In fact, if we drive by the building and don't stop, they let me know in no uncertain terms just how I offended them. Why do my girls see it as a great treat while others shake in their doggy boots? The whole staff goes out of their way to make the girls feel like adored members of the family. At least one of the girls goes each month. If we don't need a check up, we get flea and tick preventative, heartworm medication, or just go to get weighed. Then the staff gives them scratches behind the ears, lots of attention, and maybe even a treat or two. If other people and their pets are there, too, we sit on the bench and practice "leave it" and socialization skills. Because it's a vet's office, the dogs are also exposed to other animals such as rabbits, ferrets, and birds to which they might not otherwise have been exposed.

    However the biggest bonus of training dogs that vets are their best friends is that if they become ill or injured and must make an emergency trip, they are able to associate the building and staff as positive experiences and will thus be less stressed and more likely to heal quicker.

  • 04

    Festivals

    Renaissance fairs, art and crafts festivals, and other local outdoor events may be dog friendly. For example, the Kansas City Renaissance Fair goes out of their way to welcome canine members of the family and offers community water bowls and an off-leash area. Such events offer great public dog training experiences as dogs are exposed to people in costumes, actors, new sounds, smells, machines, horses, elephants, camels, and many other new experiences not found in the dog's everyday world. Such experiences desensitize dogs to things that might otherwise scare an untrained dog. Such training can save their life in emergency situations.

  • 05

    Restaurants With Outdoor Dining

    Some restaurants with outdoor seating are dog friendly. Sonic is a great favorite with my dogs as they offer free pup cup of ice cream to all dogs. Dogs should know "down," "leave it," and have a solid "stay" before going to an eatery. Dogs should always stay on the ground and never allowed in the chairs or on the table. I find such places are great at proofing my dogs to leaving foreign foods alone while exposing them to new experiences and sounds. You know your dog training is going well when she doesn't bat an eye to a car hop skating past holding a tray full of burgers and chicken fingers!




Final Thoughts

Warning: Always make sure any store, festival, restaurant, etc. is dog friendly before arriving. Never falsely claim your dog as a service dog just so as that she may attend or go into a non-dog friendly event. Such claims are illegal and may result in jail time and loss of Social Security benefits, food stamps, Medicaid, etc.




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