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Part II: Advocating For Your Pup

May 17, 2022

Learn to Read the Room

Things can go haywire anywhere, but there are a few places where tension goes from 0-60 lickety split. Play the tape in advance. By going through various scenarios before they happen, you’ll be able to handle them like a pro. 

 

No one needs to know you’re also stressed the hell out. (Seriously. No one. Keep your cool, because dogs can read our body language, too. Fake it and you’ll both make it.)

At Home

Home is your dog’s happy place. Let’s keep it that way, shall we? Think twice before inviting new people into your home. 

 

Especially children. The little rugrats can be fun, but they often don’t know how to behave. Unwanted hugs, funny games that are definitely not fucking funny, and shrill laughter can grate on the nerves of the most zen-like dogs.

 

Same goes for your buddy who just got a new pup. The two will likely become fast friends on neutral territory, but inviting an interloper into your dog’s space may not be the meet-cute you were hoping for. Puppies can be annoying. It’s okay to admit it.

 

Pretty convenient excuse for keeping pesky visitors away. Sorry, mother-in-law. It’s not me, blame the dog. 

 

And if they insist… it’s okay to insist on some house rules. No antagonizing the dog. No rough play, slipping snacks, howling like a fool, or encouraging other behaviors you’ve worked hard to redirect. 

You know what your dog needs. Now is the time to advocate for your pet by making the rules clear.

At the Vet’s Office

The veterinarian’s office can trigger major panic attacks in many dogs. For one, they go when they’re sick. Or getting a shot. Or otherwise experiencing shit that just isn’t fun. What can you do?

 

For starters, find a vet with a bedside manner that puts your pup at ease. But you can also scope out the waiting room before bringing your dog inside. 

 

Make sure there’s plenty of room for personal space. Bring a toy or treat to distract your pup from other pets. Dude, your dog is not the only one that hates the vet. Waiting rooms can be full of negative energy even if the vet is the coolest.

 

If your pup’s a little wiggle worm that just won’t sit still or stay put, the vet tech may need to gently restrain them. If you know your dog isn’t comfortable being handled by practical strangers, it’s okay to ask to take on that role. 

 

Your dog will feel much more at ease with you by their side. You’re the protector, and your dog will know there’s nothing to fear.

In Public Places

Consider potential triggers when out and about. Crowded sidewalks can feel overwhelming. 

 

You may be tempted to get evening walks out of the way. Consider your dog’s reaction to crowded spaces, and choose the road less traveled. If walking off-hours feels safe, it may be better for your pup’s mental health to wait until the crowds thin out.

 

Who doesn’t love a good Fourth of July picnic? Dogs, that’s who. If there is a hell for dogs, it probably reeks of citrus, has an endless supply of bones just out of reach, and… features a non-stop fireworks extravaganza. 

 

Loud noises, bright flashing lights, chaotic surroundings, and over-stimulation can all freak your dog out. 

 

The best thing about advocating for your dog in public places is that most of these situations are easy to avoid. 

 

In cases like these…

Know When to Hold ‘Em and When to GTFO

No matter what’s happening in the room, you’re the adult here. So, it’s your job to (wo)man up and keep things cool. 

 

If the room still feels too hot to handle, then the best way to be there for your dog is usually to walk away. Keeping your dog safe - both physically and emotionally - should always be priority numero uno. 

 

Want to learn dog body language basics and best practices to be your dog’s advocate, protector, and best mom ever? Sign up for our introductory training courses! Your dog will thank you.



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