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Pints and Paws

So, you have a cool, local brewery and you want to grab a drink with your new friend. But it’s complicated... you're just not sure if the brewery is your new friend’s “scene”. So far you know they like people and they seem laid back, have great confidence, and don’t mind loud noises. However, your best friend may act out with behaviors that aren’t socially acceptable, because well, your best friend is a dog. And dogs jump and bark and growl and pee and... all normal things especially if they become scared or overwhelmed. What to do, what to do.

First and foremost, understand that this social scene you like may not be something you can

share with your dog, and that’s ok. There will be other ways to spend quality time together that BOTH of you will enjoy! But if you want to find out if your dog will enjoy going out with you, here are some tips to set them up for success:

1) Check the place out ahead of time without your dog, take note of the sounds and various distractions your dog will encounter

2) Practice at home

  • Reward relaxing behaviors as you see them: lying down, settling.

  • Rehearse relaxing behaviors in training sessions. Be sure to introduce the distractions your dog will encounter during your rehearsals at home.

  • Teach fun, re-directive behaviors/games such as, find it, touch, magnet hand, etc.

3) Trial runs at less busy times, 10 minutes or less

  • Call ahead before leaving to confirm busy-ness

4) Lightly exercise before going, I recommend a sniff walk (do not over-tire!)

  • A ten to twenty minute, slow-paced, sniff walk is a good timeframe, but increase or decrease according to your dog’s individual needs

5) Pack a variety of small, high-value treats

  • Include favorite chew and Kong with filling

  • Don't forget your water bowl and water

6) Pick out the quietest spot away from everyone

7) Watch body language for signs of stress and be prepared to leave

The most important part of going out with your best friend is to make sure you both are having a good time. It is safe to say that most dogs won’t enjoy going out to busy, crowded places. If that includes your dog, that is perfectly normal and ok. Instead, try a date night at home, sharing the couch, and watching a movie together! Don’t forget to share the popcorn!

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