Helping dogs cope and stay safe in larger social settings
With lockdown restrictions continuing to ease, Dogs Trust is urging dog owners to prepare now so they can keep their dogs safe and happy when out and about.
Dogs Trust has a ‘Roadmap for rovers’ aimed at helping dogs cope and stay safe in larger social settings
Rachel Casey, Director of Canine Behaviour and Research, said: “As the hustle and bustle of life starts to return, and the streets get busier with people doing more socialising outdoors, it is important that we don’t drop the ball when it comes to our dog’s wellbeing and safety. Whether you plan on bringing your dog with you when out socialising, or you expect to leave them at home for a little while, this transition is likely to be difficult for them if they have been used to being at home with you for so long during lockdown.”
If you are socialising more outdoors and are planning to take your dog with you, the key, according to Dogs Trust, is to build up gradually; making sure your dog is relaxed and happy with a few people and dogs about before you take them somewhere busy. By keeping them close to you, relaxed and with their attention on you, this will also help them cope with new things, as well as avoiding the risk of them wandering off and getting into potentially hazardous situations.
Teaching them to ‘settle’ in advance will make taking them to a pub or café much easier. Start this training at home to start with, where there are no distractions, so they can learn more easily what is expected. Building up the training in progressively more exciting environments will help you get to the point of having a calm relaxed dog sitting at your feet in a busy summer café. The aim of this training is for dogs to ‘learn for themselves’ that lying down relaxed next to you is the best thing to do.
Dogs Trust Dog School has supported around 2,500 dog owners through their online classes in the first three months of 2021 alone.
For more information and to book your dog or puppy onto a virtual set of training classes, visit www.dogstrust.org.uk/dogschool.
Online training videos can also be found www.dogstrust.org.uk/changethetale/advice
If you are unlikely to take your dog with you when out and about, it is important they are content being left on their own for a short period of time; if not, they may become distressed and begin showing unwanted behaviours.
Dogs Trust also has useful information on their website - http://www.dogstrust.org.uk - on how to help prevent your dog developing separation anxiety.