Know thy dog. Are they non-aggressive, well-behaved, and able to handle crowds, loud noises and constant stimulation? If so, they’re ready to attend dog-friendly events like BlogPaws, pet expos and other dog-friendly events. If not, maybe next year and in the meantime they can await the goodies you’ll be bringing back.
We recently came back from a trip to Arizona to attend BlogPaws, a multi-day conference where people and pets mingle. It is a high octane environment with multiple distractions in the form of people, other animals, food and toys.
|Mr. N exploring in front of our hotel|
I was impressed with how the majority of the animal attendees behaved in such a setting but we had a couple of incidents where I was seriously concerned for Mr. N’s safety. Mr. N was charged at and almost knocked over multiple times because the owners were not paying attention to their dogs. I know we were not the only ones who had issues.
Dogs that attend these events should be:
- Healthy. Do they have a strong immune system to combat being with numerous other dogs and the potential for infectious viruses, bacteria and parasites and up-to-date on shots?
- Good with other animals. Dogs make up the majority (of various shapes and sizes and colors) of animals at BlogPaws but there are also cats, rodents and ferrets.
- Well-socialized. Can they handle other dogs barking, loud music, people talking on microphones, applause, and small children? This is not the place to expose your dog to multiple new things for the first time.
- Trained. Do they have a strong leave it, good leash manners, and the ability to settle quietly for long stretches of time?
- Under control. Are they on a short leash or confined to a carrier or a stroller? More and more dog events are banning flexi leashes and I applaud that decision. Crowds and flexis do not mix.
|Mr. N napping quietly in his stroller during a session.|
- Watch your dog for signs of stress. They include but are not limited to panting, yawning, whale eye (showing the whites of their eyes), pinned back ears, refusal of food, tense body posture.
- Make sure to give them breaks. Sit out a session and go walk them around. Have them take a nap in a quiet area. Take them out to go to the bathroom.
- If they’re being a distraction, remove them. If your dog is whining or barking for a prolonged period or otherwise being distracting, time for a break!
- Don’t let your dogs be rude. Don’t let your dogs charge up to other animals or sniff them for long stretches. If you see your dog fixating and staring at another dog or one of the other animals, redirect them and give the other animals a wide berth.
- If something happens, apologize profusely. Dogs are dogs and things happen. People will be much more forgiving if you apologize and take steps to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
|Mr. N decided he needed a nap|
How to approach strange dogs:
- Don’t disturb dogs that are eating, sleeping or in a confined area (crate/stroller/carrier).
- Ask permission before petting.
- Don’t loom over the dog.
- Don’t reach over their heads to pet them.
- Don’t lean in really close to their face.
- Dogs generally do not like hugs. At all. Especially from strangers.
- Stand still and wait for the dog to approach you.
|Mr. N with Ann from Pawsitively Pets. He is happy to be petted and sit in laps if you follow the above!|
Do you have any tips for bringing your dog to a dog-friendly event and making it a good experience?