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Back to Doggy School - Bones and Fishes

Back to Doggy School

Dogs go for a car ride

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.

Quincy behaves himself at a conference

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?


  1. Tenacious Little Terrier

    Probably a good leave it for us. Mr. N wants to go up to all the strangers. Thanks for joining the hop!

    1. ryan (Post author)

      We should probably add that to our list!

  2. Kari

    Yep, that is the trick with taking our dogs to events like BlogPaws. I find it easier to have a good time if I’m not worrying about how they’ll behave, but then I’m jealous of all the people who brought their dogs!

    1. ryan (Post author)

      We might borrow a doggy stroller for BlogPaws as well. That’ll at least keep them out from underfoot. lol

  3. The Daily Pip

    Thanks so much for stopping by The Daily Pip earlier this week. We were fortunate to attend BlogPaws for the first time this year and were amazed at how well the dogs and cats all made out. Ruby did not join us, but we are definitely considering bringing her next year.

    1. ryan (Post author)

      Luckily, I have three cats so my dogs will behave around the cats… knock on wood. lol

  4. Lara Elizabeth

    Boca and I have some work to do before Blog Paws 2016 as well (I’m not positive we can make it but I’m going to be optimistic and plan as if we can!). She is very calm and easygoing but she can get nervous in noisy situations and she is shy about strange men reaching for/petting her. Like Quincy, her potty training is not completely solid in unfamiliar surroundings, so we will take frequent trips outside!

    Thanks so much for joining the hop!

    1. ryan (Post author)

      Good luck! I hope to see you there!

  5. Robin

    I love that very first photo! So cute! Socializing is so important for any pet. I wish that I would have spent more time socializing my cats when they were kittens. Manna is a social butterfly, but Cinco is afraid of pretty much everyone except my husband and I. I’m glad to hear that you will be at BlogPaws 2016! Hopefully, I will see you there.


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