I am constantly surprised by people that take their dog to the dog park or out to a public park and they are dressed as if they are going to a social event. More than that I am amazed when these people get upset at their dog, or another dog, when their clothes get dirty.
You must give your dog time to be a dog. I don’t care if they are an American Bulldog or a Pomeranian, dogs tend to get dirty and we should let them. Taking your dog for a walk should provide them that opportunity to let their hair down and just be a dog. A good, structured walk is a key activity to developing a strong bond between an owner and their pup.
If you get uptight about getting your clothes dirty or you get mad because your clothes get dirty, your dog can sense your frustration immediately and they do not understand why they are getting that negative vibe from you. In fact, they will probably assume you are upset with them and that will cause them to become tense.
Not only does that effect the “good time” your dog should be having when they are out with you, but it can cause them to react differently when you meet new people and new dogs or are confronted with any situation that causes your dog to react. They sense your tension and thus they may react to protect you.
Good dog behavior does not include fashion sense or the knowledge of how much you paid for your shoes.
Many times, people show up to dog training classes wearing nice clothes or they are carrying so much stuff in their hands it makes in nearly impossible to train their dog or perform the tasks the class demands.
Have a pocket or treat bag that you can access easily to get your dog’s treats.
Reinforcement is a key component in behavior modification and dog training. You tell your dog to sit, he sits, and you reward him. The reward is the reinforcement of the dog performing the behavior you ask of them. To be effective the reinforcement should be given immediately when the dog performs the behavior you are looking for. So, fumbling around to get your treats is hurting your dog’s training. If too much time lapses from the time you tell your dog to sit to the time you reward him, he can become confused.
Try to think ahead and wear clothes that are functional and you do not mind getting dirty or scuffed. Don’t try to train your dog with a big ring of car keys in your hand along with the leash, in fact don’t have anything else in your hand but your leash. Don’t have a bag hanging over your shoulder that requires that you give constant effort to keep it from sliding off.
Devote the time you spend with your dog to your dog. Put the phone away. Use the time to try and forget the other influences in your world and experience the walk with your dog. When they look at something, you look at it too. Be WITH your dog, vibe with your dog. They crave your attention so give it to them and you will see your relationship grow.