How to Keep Your Dog Calm in Public #GreenBarkGummies


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Share your tips for a chance to win treats for your dog

Note: This is a sponsored post. Read more to learn how to enter my giveaway to win dog treats from Green Bark Gummies.

If your dog is hyper when visiting new places, there is hope!

The key is lots of exercise, lots of patience and to slowly bring your dog to more and more places over time.

I lucked out with my dog Ace because for the most part I can bring him anywhere and he is relatively calm.

I like taking him to coffee shops and restaurants, dog friendly bars and outdoor events. In the San Diego area, there are a lot of opportunities to do these things.

But, some dogs are a little more challenging in public places.

I thought I’d share my tips for helping a dog stay calm and behaved in public, but I want to hear from you, too.

This is a common problem we could all use a little help on. Plus, those who leave a comment will be entered to win treats from Green Bark Gummies! (More on that below.)

Green Bark Gummies

5 Tips to keep your dog calm when out in public

1. Lots of exercise beforehand!

If you want your dog to be calmer out in public, try exercising her a lot more. If you’re currently walking her for 30 minutes a day, start walking her for an hour. Not just the morning before you take her somewhere, but every day that you possibly can.

A lot of dogs just have so much pent-up energy from weeks or months of not enough exercise. Their owners don’t even realize it, but if the dogs just got more exercise, they’d naturally be a lot calmer when out and about.

2. Use a collar that makes your dog easier to handle.

My dog wearing his Gentle Leader San Diego Beerworks

This is another issue that puzzles me, along with a lack of exercise. Why do people insist on using regular collars when their dogs pull so much? Do they think they’ll be judged for using a prong collar? Are they hesitant to spend $15 on a Gentle Leader or a no-pull harness?

The Gentle Leader is my default collar because it minimizes my dog’s pulling more than anything else I’ve tried.

My dog is well behaved and I am a good trainer, but I still like to use certain collars to minimize his pulling when we’re out in public. It makes the experience more relaxing and enjoyable, and it means my dog gets to tag along more often.

And ditch the retractable leash for now. OK, maybe for good. 🙂

3. Carry highly valued treats.

Keep dog calm in public
Another tip that seems obvious, right? But few people actually bring treats.

And not just any treats! Oh no, dry dog biscuits just won’t cut it for most dogs. You should find something your dog is willing to work for.

Green Bark Gummies logoThis post is sponsored by Green Bark Gummiesand those are the treats I’ve been using for training for the last few months.

Green Bark Gummies are natural treats made with real ingredients such as whitefish, duck, kelp and chia. Most dogs are really interested in Green Bark Gummies, so the treats work well for holding their attention and focus. Ace is pretty much hypnotized by them!

You can read my original Green Bark Gummies review here, and if you would like to enter our current giveaway, you can do so below. There will be 10 winners!

4. Lots of practice over weeks and months.

We all want our dogs to behave perfectly right away, but it’s not fair to bring them to a busy outdoor restaurant and expect them to behave if we haven’t taken them to quieter places to practice first.

[quote_right]A good place to start is a quiet park with picnic tables.[/quote_right]

A good place to start is a quiet park with picnic tables. Just sit down with your dog and maybe a coffee, and work on keeping your dog in a “stay” with mild distractions. If it’s not going well, you can always leave.

Another option, once your dog has had more practice, is a coffee shop with outdoor seating during a quieter time or maybe a casual, fast-food type place as long as it’s not too busy.

I try to sit on an end as far away from all the commotion as possible. I also like to keep my body between my dog and the most likely source of distraction. If I expect people to be walking by on one side, I have him lie down and stay on the other side, preferably under the table or against a wall or other barrier. Then I give him treats to encourage calm behavior and focus.

If your dog is having a hard time, you can always take your coffee and go.

5. Practice lots of basic obedience.

People are always emailing me to ask how they can get their dog to stop barking at other dogs or how they can stop their dog from freaking out in public.

It often comes down to basic obedience.

If your dog will listen to you and stay when told, then you are ahead of 99 percent of other dog owners. Another good command to work on is “watch me” where you reward your dog for eye contact. If you practice those two things every day in various environments, I bet you’ll see some noticeable progress.

Every time you work with your dog, you are reinforcing a positive relationship, which only helps your dog pay attention to you in more challenging environments.

OK, now for the giveaway info …

Win treats from Green Bark Gummies!

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Green Bark Gummies will be giving away  a bag of treats to 10 readers of ThatMutt.com. If you’ve won in the past, feel free to enter again. Contest runs through April 8.

To enter, just use the Rafflecopter below. It’s easy to use. You just enter your name and email address to get started.

*Must have a U.S. mailing address to win.*

Of course, you can always order Green Bark Gummies treats on Amazon or visit GreenBarkGummies.com for more information.

How does your dog behave while you’re out in public? Naughty or calm or somewhere in between?

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*This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on those links and make a purchase I will get a commission.

24 thoughts on “How to Keep Your Dog Calm in Public #GreenBarkGummies”

  1. Great tips for dining out! I do the same thing with putting Haley out of the way and try to sit around the edges of a patio. Good treats definitely help! On a couple of occasions when Haley was particularly antsy at a restaurant, I wrapped her leash around my foot to keep her in a down position. She still had plenty of slack leash to move around a little, but it kept her from sitting with her nose at table height. We’ve dined at so many great places where they even brought out water bowls for Haley. I really appreciate those kinds of restaurants and they get huge tips!

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Oh good idea! I do that too. I step on Ace’s leash closer to his collar so he can’t sit up. So mean, I know. 🙂

  2. Lambeau gets quite excited when he is around people and other dogs. He loves everybody and everything! And wants to prove it to them all. I have been working with him on paying attention to me since we got him at 8 weeks old. My vet was amazed when I took him in for his first appointment (he was about 12 weeks then) at how closely he watched me. She said she’d never seen a puppy that young with that good a focus. He does lose it some in public with all the commotion. I do walk him in good weather to a local farmstand that has benches and a table outdoors. We sit, have some water, and I work with him on calm behavior. He’s just over a year old now and slowly getting better. I need to get him to more places, but with only one car, it’s hard. I do like that so many places allow dogs now. Makes this whole thing easier since we can take him with us more often, and that means more practice.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      I need to get better at taking my dog places. There are so many places that welcome dogs, you’d think I’d take him along more often.

  3. Moo’s always been very calm in public. She’s happy to be included and curls up under a chair. I even have a bag that unfolds to a mat for her to be extra comfortable!

  4. These are some great tips. The highlight of our training class last summer was when we all went to a local pub after class and sat on the patio with our dogs. It was a training exercise and also a celebration of how far we’d come with our dogs. My biggest frustration now is finding more dog-friendly shops and restaurants. There don’t seem to be a whole lot in our area.

  5. I can take my lab anywhere and he’s been so well trained that he just goes under the table (say, “go under”, down and then stay). He doesn’t get up until I release him. Lots of training and practice!

  6. Thank you for this article. Why didn’t I think of practicing in a semi-quiet park? (slaps head and says, “Duh!”)

  7. In this country, the biggest problem is dogs rarely go anywhere, so they aren’t used to going to new places. The best thing is to start young taking a puppy with you all over the place and continue it throughout their life so they are used to it.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Yes, that is such a good point. There’s a big difference, even, between the San Diego dogs vs. North Dakota dogs. Since dogs are welcome more places here and it’s nicer weather too, people are just out and about with their dogs a lot more and the dogs (in general) are more socialized, well exercised and calmer.

  8. My additional tip: Don’t let other people reward your dog for not being calm. Other people: Oh, I don’t mind if he jumps! Well, guess what? I do. People who give your dog love and attention for rushing at them, greeting without permission, or other non-calm behavior undermine a lot of good training and practice. Their attention and affection can be better than your most awesome treats.

    It’s hard when you don’t want to appear rude to people. I generally use the “we’re training” excuse, but that doesn’t always work when you’re just planted outside a coffee shop. 🙂

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      That’s a struggle for me too, and I haven’t figured out a way to handle it. Mostly I just let me dog act crazy around people who greet him like that, and sadly that means he’s not always as well behaved as I’d like.

  9. Great tips! Norman is so easy to take out. I bring him everywhere! Kaya, on the other hand, is high strung so she gets bored and excited easily. I try not to bring her on errands unless she’s super tired and I know I’ll have the patience to work with her.

    BTW Kaya & Norman are loving the bag of these treats we won. I keep them in the car because Norman hates the car so I need strong smelling treats to lure him in. And since they’re small, I can give him several! I always give Kaya some too so she doesn’t miss out. 🙂

  10. Misty is at the in between stage. I can’t trust her to not bark and charge at other dogs, but we are working on it. She is pretty good. She goes with me most of the time. I’ll look for those collars.

  11. Great, common sense tips!

    We had a problem with my dog yipping in front of a store while left alone for 5 minutes. So embarrassing.
    My solution was to practice Stay. First at home, in the yard, in a quiet corner at school while waiting for my son. Then, I tied him again in front of the store, cued Stay, moved a few feet away, came back, rewarded. Repeated, repeated, slowly increasing distance and getting out of sight for a while. An older lady saw me giving my pup treats and commented how spoiled my dog already is, ha ha.
    Anyways, it worked. After just five minutes of practice in front of the store, many looks from passersby, he got the message that he’s not getting abandoned. From now on, we never had a problem with tipping. He actually lounges and relaxes.

    Right now, he’s on a leash in a sloppy Down at my feet. We went for an hour evening walk, he ate dinner, and there is no reason he cannot stay calm for half an hour.

    Good luck with training, everyone! It’s a never ending story.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      I don’t leave Ace in front of stores too often, but I’m sure there are times where he would also yip, which would be so frustrating/embarrassing! Haha! He is a whiner, and it gets really irritating. He’ll whine if we’re with a group camping or at a picnic and, God forbid, I head to the bathroom without him and leave him with the group.

      Good for you for figuring out a way to overcome the problem. That’s hilarious that someone told you your dog is spoiled for getting treats! Haha! Good grief.

  12. Yes, Kuba can be a whiner too!
    He doesn’t get treats just for existing and I don’t think he’s very spoiled, ha ha. The lady wasn’t mean though. And who cares anyways, treats worked well in that case. Yay.

  13. I just thinking the other day how well these treats work to get my dog’s attention when out for a walk! She loves them, which is great since she’s so reactive to other dogs when out for walks, it completely distracts her!

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