Keeping Spot Happy at Dog-Friendly Events

Photo: @thatgoldendog

We’re officially approaching the dog days of summer, folks, and you know what that means– dog-friendly event season is in full swing. And if you don’t believe us, check out our chock-full events page!

Even though you’re super-psyched about attending these fabulous pooch parties, it’s important to think of your four-legged dates and make sure they’re comfortable, calm and having just as much fun as you are.

With that in mind, we got some helpful tips from animal communicator and wellness practitioner Elaine Garley of Animal Bridges on making sure Spot is a happy camper during dog-friendly events. Here’s what Elaine suggested:

  • Does your dog want to be at the event, or do you want your dog at the event? Are you bringing your dog because it would be fun for both of you or just for you? Be sure your dog is comfortable in crowded, busy places with lots of other people and dogs.
  • Is your dog shy or fearful? If so please leave them at home where they will be happier. If your dog hides behind you when people approach on the sidewalk or puts her tail between her legs, she would be happier at home. If she stays away from other dogs, growls, or holds her breath around other dogs, please leave her at home. If he walks right up to another dog and sniffs its rear, he will enjoy the event! [Editor’s note: Bringing your dog is not a requirement for attending Sushi With Your Poochie™. If your pup isn’t the social type, don’t worry–come by yourself and soak up the fun!]
  • Be sure to give personal space to dogs attending the event. When you approach another dog, if possible, approach from their side. Humans are very impolite in the dog world when they walk right up to a dog’s face.
  • Please use only short leashes. Flexi-leashes or retractable leashes don’t work well at these events. They give dogs too much freedom to pull you across the space. Additionally, these leashes are notorious for causing rope burns on peoples’ legs and hands. A short cloth or leather leash gives you the ability to shorten it and keep your best friend at your side. If he is out front, he may feel the need to protect you. Dogs are happier when they are at your side.
  • Treats can become an issue. Be aware and watch how your dog and other dogs react to treats. If either one is getting snarky about snacks, just put them in your pocket and give the treat to her later.
  • Are you relaxed? Or are you holding your breath? Your tension and stress go right down the leash to the dog. If you’re nervous and holding your breath, the dog will think something is wrong. So relax and have a good time! Hold the leash loosely in your hand. Have fun as you keep an eye on your dog. It is very easy to get involved in a conversation and not realize what your dog is doing–suddenly she may be 10 feet away from you. Please be aware of your dog at all times.
  • Is your dog giving you signals she is concerned or stressed? If your dog is licking her lips, yawning, turning her back to another dog or person, scratching or looking at another dog and away, she is trying to calm herself. Take her to the periphery of the event and give her a break. She is trying to tell you she’s anxious, and it is best to give her some room. If these signals escalate, it may be best to leave the event.
  • If your dog seems stressed, try some Tellington TTouch: Calmly, gently and slowly stroke your dog’s ear (one at a time) or down his back. Tell him he is doing great. Smile and have fun!

–Meredeth Barzen

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