We have recently started dining out more with the nicer weather and would like to take our pup along with us but are unsure how they will behave. Do you have any training tips for us to set our pup up for success with the outdoor dining experience?
As our weather is getting nicer many people are taking to the outdoor dining experience. There are a few things you can work on to help your dog be successful at outdoor dining.
My go to is to teach your pup to go to a ‘place’ and be able to bring their place with you when you dine. For me the cue ‘place’ is an implied ‘down stay’ until released. You can teach this by having a mat on the floor and the second your pup steps on it, reward them. Be sure to release them off the place using a cue such as ‘okay’ or ‘release’. Repeat this several times and then start to see if you can get your pup to lie down or sit on the mat and make this your new criteria for the dog to earn reinforcement. You can practice this at mealtime at home as well to help curb any potential begging that may be happening at the dinner table.
Another great training tip is to go to the desired spot at off hours for dry runs. Take your pup for a walk to the outdoor diner and just take a seat for 10 to 15 minutes and then leave. This will give you an idea of how your pup will be in that setting and not have the commitment of a meal.
You may want to also plan to bring something to keep your pup occupied during the meal, such as a chew stick or Kong filled with their favorite items. Remember to be considerate of surrounding guests and be sure that what you are bringing is not a squeaky type of toy or one that your dog may ‘lose’ like a ball.
Remember that not all dogs are great for outdoor dining or may need a little training to get there. Take the time to test your pup out and make it enjoyable for all parties involved!
If you would like some extra help getting your pup diner ready, you can schedule a 1:1 Consultation with one of our behaviorists or call our Behavior Helpline at ext. 183.