Put your paws up....

The way people think about their dogs has shifted a little over the last decade and more and more people are placing them higher up on their list of priorities.

We want to take our pets to the places we go to and more and more establishments are recognising and accommodating them.

That said, there is a simple social etiquette that is expected.

Can your dog come to a cafe or bar quietly and confidently, and settle at your feet while you eat, drink and relax with family or friends?

My young springer spaniel, Piper has been coming to our cafe since she was 7 weeks old. She has been learning lots about interacting calmly with people and other dogs. I often am told that I am lucky that I have a calm springer puppy. It's not luck. I have been consciously reinforcing all the calm behaviours that she offers me.

Ok, a quick explanation of what I mean by reinforcement:

We learn by trial and error. If we do something that elicits a favourable response, we are more likely to repeat that behaviour. If you go to work and receive payment, you are more likely to go to work again. You are being reinforced for working with a payment. If you didn't get paid or didn't get paid what you were expecting, you might not go to work or you might not do as good a job.

Piper has learnt that if she goes to her bed, she will get paid. I use her own kibble. I try hard to be quite consistent at the start. Then I can slowly increase the duration that she stays there before adding the reinforcement. Gradually, I increase the distractions.

Do you struggle with your dog's excitability in new places? Would you like to be able to take them to the local pub or to the cafe for a coffee?

We offer workshops in our cafe for exactly this challenge; our Settle workshops are suitable for any dog of any age. If you have dog reactive dog, contact us. We cover several exercises and games that encourage focus on us, the owner and calmness.