Back to Doggy School
One of the biggest events for pet bloggers each year is the BlogPaws Conference. I wasn’t able to make it last year, but everything is falling into place for me to attend in 2016! I have a room lined up with a fellow blogger, my budget prepared, and my route mapped for the trip down with Quincy and Bentley in the Scion. But just yesterday it occurred to me that I’m missing one major thing: puppy manners. All hell breaks loose when Bentley sees a dog he arbitrarily decides he doesn’t like. Or if he gets bored. Or if he just feels good and wants to tell everyone about it! Quincy has started ignoring basic commands, and the more his health improves, the naughtier he gets. It’s time for the dogs to go back to doggy school!
All of these things will also improve daily life, but there are a few key things we need to work on to make the sure the conference goes smoothly.
1. Sit & Stay or “Wait”
This is one of the basics that has been neglected recently. They kinda listen, but they’re definitely not obeying like they used to. I’ve started getting back on track by having them wait while I fill their food dishes at meal time. If they can resist the urge to break while I’m pouring food in their bowls, the rest should be easy! Bentley is definitely better at this, but gives me a dirty look while he’s waiting.
2. Quiet & Keeping Bentley Calm
This one may require multiple strategies. Socializing Ben has done a lot for him, but even so, he can get terribly over-stimulated quickly if he’s tired, bored, or overwhelmed. Distracting him with cookies has been the most effective, but I can’t be feeding him constantly while at the conference. We’ll need to do more socialization in the coming months, and teach him how to cope with being near other dogs. He especially has a hard time when other dogs start barking, so we’ll work our way up to that!
3. Potty Training
Quincy wasn’t potty trained when I got him at 4 years old, and it took a year to get him reliable in my own home. Dogs don’t like to potty in their “den”, so he first learned not to poop in the bedroom, where he slept, then expanded his definition of “his den” to the living room and other parts of the house. The challenge we still face is that other locations are not his den. At almost 11 years old, this is probably a permanent problem, so while I will do my best to improve on this, I’ll probably always have to treat him like a puppy in this area. Taking him outside frequently to distraction-free areas should help us avoid any embarrassing problems.
I’d love for them to have all sorts of cute tricks to show off too, but we really have our work cut out for ourselves with Bentley’s socialization. Extra tricks may be used as a redirection tool to help with his social anxiety, but our primary goal will be no barking, hold still, and don’t poop!
Have you had to prepare your dogs for a social situation? What commands did you need to work on the most?