Have you ever seen someone walking around with their dog at a festival, parade or other event and wondered how the dog stayed calm, cool and collected in such a chaotic atmosphere? Maybe you wish you could bring your dog to such events, but you feel he is just too hard to control around so much congestion.
Handling your dog in a large crowd can be a stressful and challenging job. The American Kennel Club offers the following tips:
Early socialization. Socialization is extremely important for a number of reasons. If you have a puppy, now is the best time to expose him to as many people, places, sights, sounds, smells and objects as possible. The more socialized your pup is, the calmer he will be in crowds throughout his life.
Don't overexpose him. If your dog has never been around large crowds, you should start by exposing him to small groups of people first and gradually bring him around larger crowds as he gets more comfortable. This can help keep your dog from becoming overwhelmed, and it can help you learn his strengths and weaknesses.
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Leash your dog. Make sure to keep your dog on a relatively short leash when you are in large crowds of people. There are tons of distractions that might make it very tempting for him to run off. You will want to keep your dog as close to you as possible in order to keep maximum control over him. Teaching your dog to heel can also be quite beneficial to help you control him in crowded places. Reward your dog for heeling on your command.
Be confident. You can't expect your dog to be calm and well-behaved if you are not confident in your ability to control him. The energy you assert will be reflected in your dog's behavior. Be aware of where your dog is and what is going on around him at all times. Be assertive when giving your dog a command.
For more tips on dog ownership, visit the AKC at www.akc.org.