So lockdown restrictions are gradually being lifted, pubs and restaurants will become busier and the summer holidays are nearly upon us. Get your dog ready to ease back into a busier lifestyle.
If you are taking your dog out socialising with you make sure they are confident around crowds and other dogs by introducing them gradually to busier situations rather than throwing them in the deep end. Keep your dog close by and focused on you to relax them, this helps them cope with the hustle and bustle. Always carry treats as a distraction if you need them to focus. Building the time up spent out and about will create a calm dog that is happy to sit while you are having a refreshment break.
Training your dog to sit quietly and settle while you are taking a break at a cafe or in the park takes a little time and effort. A calm approach is needed, sit quietly and ideally place your dogs blanket on the floor by your side, keep a loose lead, make no response but reward your dog with a small piece of treat for lying on the blanket. Making no fuss at this stage helps your dog to remain calm and understand that a reward will come when they have settled.
Some dogs pick this up easily and will lie down straight away, others take a little time to settle, reward when your dog stops pulling on the lead, is standing quietly, is ignoring distractions or begins sniffing their blanket, perseverance is the key.
Make sure your dog is relaxed and happy, you may provide a toy, chew or they may be content to doze, start to increase the time your dog needs to be settled before you reward them with a treat. Build this up over several sessions.
This training works best when built up over time, choose somewhere quiet and familiar for initial training and build up to busier areas. If your dog gets restless, ignore them until they have settled again before rewarding with a treat. If they cannot settle, move away from the distraction and try again. Try to avoid giving your dog commands to sit or stay as the process needs to be learnt by your dog to be reinforced.
Soon your dog will be happy and confident to relax in any situation making outings and holidays a joy for the whole family.
Will the easing of lockdown mean your dog will be left home alone more than ever – read our blog