It's a tradition in my town to attend the multiple Parades and outdoor music events held throughout the year. Taking a puppy or dog to an outdoor event can be a great way to expose them to a variety of new sights and sounds, lots of new people, fire trucks, sirens, horses, tractors, motorcycles, the list goes on and on. It can also be totally overwhelming and terrifying and the wrong choice for your pup. The socialization process is not a one-size-fits-all as not all puppies and/or dogs are comfortable or prepared for these events. They could be sound sensitive, nervous in new environments, fearful of strangers, too young to have had proper exposure to all that an outdoor event involves, this includes concerts, parties and sporting events.
If you're thinking about taking your puppy/dog to an event, here are some things to consider:
- Pick a location that allows your pup to feel comfortable. It's best to position yourself a far distance away from the event until you can determine if your pup is comfortable with the noise and activity. If you can't control the environment for your pet, they should stay home
- Pick a location that is shaded so your pup will not overheat
- Bring water if the temps are warm
- Take YUMMY treats and offer them freely
- Give them a chew toy or frozen cheese kong and let them enjoy and relax
- Watch for signs of stress in your pup and know when it's time to leave, even if the event is not over. Dogs communicate their feelings clearly, it's our job to know how to interpret them
- Let your pup meet and greet strangers if they are comfortable, don't force them to interact with people
- Allow your pup to take breaks and to move around, sitting still for long periods of time is not much fun for a pup and can be stressful.
- NEVER punish your pup for being afraid, nervousness is a cue for you to leave
- Don't expect your pup to enjoy all your activities......we don't enjoy all of theirs :)
As much as I love spending time with my dogs, sometimes they are happiest staying home :)