February 27, 2023 - By :

Reasons Your Dog Misbehaves in Public

Does your normally well-behaved dog turn into a crazed ball of fur on four legs as soon as you take them somewhere? It can be embarrassing when your dog won’t behave in public. You probably feel like you might as well not take them anywhere. So why does your dog completely change his personality whenever you leave the house and what can you do about it? In this article we’ll go over reasons your dog misbehaves in public and some tips of what you can do to fix the problem. Let’s dig in.

It feels like 2 different dogs

If your dog is well-behaved at home but not in public, it could be due to many reasons, the most common being: lack of socialization, inconsistent training, or anxiety. Your dog’s senses could also be overloaded by their new surroundings. If you’re reading this and you have a puppy and you haven’t encountered this issue (yet) it’s important to set your pup up for success by training them early and in various situations to avoid misbehavior in public places.

Reasons Your Dog Misbehaves in Public

It can be confusing when your dog starts acting like a wild child outside, yet they’re so good at home. But before you get too frustrated, first take a deep breath. It’s not your dog’s fault. As we said above, there can be several reasons your dog is struggling to behave in public. Once you discover your pup’s reason, you can start to change their behavior.

Your Dog Doesn’t Know How to Act in Public

We promise you that your dog isn’t trying to embarrass you on purpose. Your dog simply might not know how they’re supposed to behave in public. (This is common in newly adopted juvenile and adult shelter dogs) If you’ve never taught your pup how to act when you’re in different locations, then they won’t know what to do. Distractions and unfamiliar surroundings can make it tough for your dog to focus. Anything they learn while in the comfort of your home can fly out the window once in public.  If you haven’t taken your dog to many places, or exposed them to different situations, they’ll likely act out in public. Proper socialization is a big part of raising a happy and well-behaved pup.  We understand that sometimes life is busy so owners may not always have the time or know how to properly socialize a dog in public while training. That’s one reason why hiring a professional dog trainer can really help you.  Come.Sit.Stay Dog Training in Jacksonville, Fl does in-home training and then works up to taking your dog to public places so your dog is comfortable and knows how to behave no matter where they are at.

There Are Too Many Distractions for Your Dog

If your dog isn’t used to going places, when you do take them somewhere, it can be an intense experience for them. Suddenly, your dog smells, hears and sees all sorts of new things, especially other dogs and people.  All of these different experiences can overload your dog’s senses. And it can be a bit too much for an unfamiliar pup. Pretty soon, what will happen if you constantly take your dog out without introducing him slowly, consistently, and with the proper training, is that your dog won’t be able to take it anymore. Your dog wants to get up close with every dog, meet every person, and investigate every sound and smell. Therefore, they start barking like crazy, pulling on their leash, and wanting to go everywhere at once. Once this behavior kicks in, especially during their juvenile stage it can be hard to break and be very stressful on the owner.

Being in Public Could Stress Your Dog Out

Depending on your dog’s personality, instead of wanting to check everything out, they could also shut down and become scared.  When dogs are in a brand new situation, many dogs experience anxiety. This is especially the case with dogs that were not properly socialized when they were young. This stress results in a dog that might bark or misbehave because they’re fearful.  When your dog is scared, they might get overly excited, hyperactive, and have difficulty focusing. They might even freeze, refusing to go another step.  Another possibility is that your stress is making your dog act excitable, fearful or tense.  If you tense up when you’re out in public with your dog because you fear the worst, this can backfire on you. So it’s very important that you remain calm while also being the dominant authority.

Maybe Your Dog Isn’t as Well Trained as You Think

Another possible reason for your dog’s undesirable behavior in public is that they aren’t as well trained as you think. You might think they follow your commands well, but do they really respond consistently? Have you tried delivering commands in different situations? Be realistic about your pup’s abilities. It might be that some further training is necessary. If you’re unsure about your abilities to train your dog properly, you can find a professional trainer to work with.  Come.Sit.Stay in Jacksonville, Fl., works with dogs of all ages, breeds and sizes. We come to your home for private one-on-one lessons so you and your dog learn where you live and then when they’re ready, we then take your dog to local places to apply their training.  

Tips for Taking Your Dog Out in Public

Keeping these reasons for your dog’s public mishaps in mind, here are a few ways to improve the situation. 

1.Practice Everywhere

When training your dog, make sure to practice in a variety of settings. You can start out at home with limited distractions. But once your pup performs commands consistently, change the environment slightly.  You could try a few sessions in your front yard to start. Then, once your dog performs consistently there, perhaps try a public park. Then, you can work up to places like an outdoor restaurant, store, and other locations.

2.Socialize Your Dog Early 

It’s important to socialize your dog early to maximize their ability to adjust to various situations. Before 14 to 16 weeks of age is when it’s most critical for puppies to undergo socialization experiences. Bring your pup to the pet shop, a dog-friendly store, the park, a friend’s house, etc.  If you don’t take your dog anywhere, how can you expect them to miraculously behave in public? However, if you miss this critical time period, it’s not too late. You just need to work slowly and consistently when easing your dog into new situations.

3.Keep Public Outings Short and Sweet in the Beginning

If you’re just starting to train your pup how to behave in public, start out simple. Keep your outings brief to maximize the potential for good behavior.  It’s also a good idea to keep your distance from other people and dogs so you don’t overwhelm your pup.As your dog has success, you can gradually increase the amount of time you spend out and about.  Lastly, make sure to have treats on hand to reward desired behavior promptly. You want to catch your dog being good so you can mark the behavior immediately.

4.Up the Ante with Positive Rewards 

Since positive praise and rewards are essential to helping your dog learn desired behaviors, make sure you pick some good ones. When a dog is out in public, distractions can make it harder for them to focus. You might even find your dog is too excited to pay attention to the treat in your hand.  Therefore, really up the ante with some irresistible rewards. Find something your dog absolutely goes ga-ga over that you don’t give them all the time. Reserve these extra-special treats for public outings only.  Another trick to help you along is to bring along your own doggy distraction. If you’re going somewhere where you expect your pup to remain calm and still for an extended period (like an outdoor restaurant). You can give your dog a lick mat or an interactive toy to keep them engaged and entertained.

Stay Calm and Be Patient

As with any type of training, staying patient, positive, calm, and consistent will pay you back in spades. Eventually, your dog will understand what you expect of them, and they’ll start to act accordingly.  Remember, pups can pick up on their owners’ stress, which can make them act in less-than-desirable ways so no matter what happens, just remember that you can handle this- just stay calm. Are you ready to take your dog out for a day on the town? When you keep these tips in mind, you’ll be enjoying an outdoor patio lunch with your pup in no time. 

Get Extra Help

Sometimes no matter how hard you try, training your dog yourself just may not be producing the results you hoped for..and that’s okay! That’s what the caring and professional trainers at Come.Sit.Stay Dog Training are for!  Whether you have a new puppy, rescue dog, or an older dog needing help with basic training, some new tricks, behavior issues, or extra stimulation- we can help! There’s no issue we can’t and haven’t corrected! Just imagine being able to take your K9 best friend with you everywhere you go WITHOUT being controlled and pulled in every direction?  Better yet, imagine the feeling of having your dog by your side the entire time, no matter the distractions, WITHOUT the need for even a leash? That’s what we do and is just one of the amazing results we can produce for you!  Call us today at 205-637-1363 to set up your FREE In-Home consultation. Or fill out our easy to use form on our website by clicking here Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook for updates and more dog training tips and tricks!

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