An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered – Gilbert K. Chesterton
This weekend we met with potential landlords. And, as can be expected, they asked to meet Porter as well. Now, Porter is a great dog. I will not deny that, but he’s also still a dog. Which means I can’t expect him to act perfectly in every situation, especially when new locations and people are involved. Which means I have to set him up for as much success as possible. When we put our dogs into new situations and are hoping for the best behavior from our dogs, it’s our responsibility to put them into a position that makes it possible. Here are some steps I took to ensure Porter was able to show off his best self.
1. Getting Used to the New Location
If you’re going to be somewhere new, this automatically means that it will be more exciting for your dog. New smells and new areas to check out. If you can get to the new location a little early and let your dog settle in you’ll be amazed at the difference. It’s unrealistic to expect your dog to act the same in a new place as he would at home. He’s used to home. He knows the rules and what to expect there. New locations have a lot of unknowns attached to them. If you’re able to get their earlier to let your dog settle in the better. Bring an item or two that would be at their favorite familiar location as well. A toy or a blanket. Bringing something that smells familiar will make them more comfortable.
2. Pilot Right Away
When you get to the new location, don’t short on your Piloting. Just because it’s a new location doesn’t mean your dog should have no guidance on what is acceptable or not. The faster you can start Piloting in a new location the sooner your dog will settle in. He’ll realize that not everything in this marvelous new place is a threat and that you have everything under control so he can settle in. And maybe sniff a few more new things.
Make sure your dog can get out some excess energy with some activity. It can be a walk with you and if you’re in a place where your dog can run safely, let him go get some energy out after a walk without you. Play some fetch or let them run. Anything to get out some of that anxious energy. If you’re going to let your dog get some energy out on his own though, make sure that once they’re done, you go back into a short walk. Something to let them regroup into a calm state and finish up with some Piloting.
4. Expect the Unexpected
No situation is going to go as exactly as planned. Our little curve ball was that there would be a 2 year old meeting Porter as well. Porter does not have much contact with children. I can count on one hand how many times he’s met a kid. But, there was no point in panicking. That was the situation, so we could only react to it and answer Porter’s questions: Is this small little being that’s my size a threat? Nope, not at all. There’s no reason to worry about why they asked the question as long as you answer it!
5. Trust Your Skills
You know how to Pilot your dog and you’ve done a lot of work so far. So, trust your skills. If you start to get nervous, realize that your dog will pick up on the energy that you are exuding. Remember: Fake it until you make it. If you’re not feeling confident, take some deep breaths and think about all of the times you’ve Piloted your dog through new situations before. Making sure your energy is confident and calm is key. If you don’t seem concerned or worried your dog won’t either. I know, it’s hard. There may be times where your dog doesn’t act perfect, but don’t get frustrated. Just deal with the situation at hand. Don’t worry about what anyone else is thinking. Quite honestly, if you’re able to handle a situation quickly and calmly everyone will be impressed.
If you keep this tips in mind you’ll set you and your dog up for a great new adventure. Don’t stress new situations because you have the tools to make them successful! And just to let you know, Porter did great and made a new friend that’s about his height.
Darwin Dogs, LLC
Dog Training in Cleveland, OH