This topic is broad but relevant in the pet world. We will be speaking in terms specifically relating to dogs based off our experiences. However, this information is translatable and transferable to other pets. Following the K.I.S.S. method (Keep It Simple Stupid), we decided to break down this article by the “where” and “when.” Before we dive in, the meaning of success should be defined. What is success for you and your dog? Do you have places in mind to take them (eg: restaurants, dog park, travel?) How do you envision the ideal outing happening? These are all questions best to consider first. Once answered, you can begin laying the groundwork for success when taking an animal companion with you.
This may speak for itself, but research an area before you go. Is the location pet-friendly? The answer tends to be only a Google search away. Looking ahead may help determine what items need to be brought for your pet. Don’t assume places have objects such as doggie bags or water bowls. Preparation can make for a smoother adventure.
Is your pup good around other dogs or more of a solo artist?
Dogs may become territorial when in new scenarios. Others may want to be part of the pack and party with every dog nearby. Consider what your pup would prefer and help them flourish in situations. Does your dog think it’s a human and prefer to be around people? Perhaps having a table farther away from the play area works better.
This ties into the next thought: space versus crowded areas.
Expansive or compact, either setting can be overwhelming depending on the dog. If they are used to lots of space, take this into consideration going into a tighter scenario. On the other side, a dog used to quaint hang-out spots can just as easily turn tense or apprehensive if placed in a larger setting. Outside of the house, you are your dog’s refuge and guide point. Let your pet know they are safe with your presence and interaction. We like to get on Fletcher’s level to interact and give him some attention.
Sometimes it can take time to get Fletcher relaxed in a bustling environment, whether that be loud music or people/animals bouncing around. Asking our outgoing, energetic dog to sit still after strolling right into a new place did not work in our favor. We’ve found he behaves better if we walk about so he can do a quick sweep of his surroundings.
Always have an escape plan or outlet.
Sounds drastic, we know. Similar to humans needing an out for leaving a party, strategize in case your pet needs a break. This could mean a quick bathroom hiatus or even getting some alone time with you (their favorite person!) A dog park or social gathering of any kind can be a lot to handle for dogs. Taking some time to better their experience could in turn improve yours.
Go off of gut feeling. If you get to a location and notice your dog is overwhelmed, timid, or defensive, take a break or go elsewhere. Maybe the environment was too much for your dog today. This has happened before with Fletcher at a place we frequented often. He began to stick right next to me with his tail between his legs, which varied from his normal, overjoyed socialite ways. Other signs can be excessive panting or drooling, pacing, or trembling. Be sure to recognize any changes in your pet’s behavior. Another important point is to remember your pet can sense and feed off of your behavior. Essentially, your stress can mean stress for them as well. You must be receptive to you and your dog first over others.
Time of day may greatly affect the behavior of your pet when out of the house. For instance, Fletcher is amped and active early in the day, but then mellows out by the afternoon. Other animal personalities are not early risers and would rather lounge in the a.m., perfect for coffee dates or morning flights.
Same goes for exercise. Does your dog behave better after exercising? Our dog enjoys walking/adventuring in the morning so he can become a well-deserved couch pancake later. Life happens, so the day isn’t always perfectly catered to him (shocking) and we have to adapt. If Fletch hasn’t been exercised and we take him somewhere that requires “good-boy” behavior, we try and let him release some energy before arriving. You haven’t been home all day and swing by to grab your pup for a meet-up, how will they react?
The topic of where and when to take your pet for success is a difficult one. Each animal and owner varies in situation and personality. We hope this article may lead to some thoughts before taking your beloved pet along for the ride.
Have any ideas or personal experiences? DailyBarker would love to hear your input and any methods you and your pet use to triumph outings together, just comment below!
Hi! I’m Marleigh. I am a nurse, military spouse and proud human to @fletcher_the_pup. We are lovers of dogs and adventures, especially in combination. Fletcher is a shepherd mix who is a puppy at heart and loves being around others. His big ears only add to his even bigger personality. Fletch is definitely the most photogenic person in the family and we hope our experiences can bring some joy to other peoples lives.