When you have a puppy or a dog with separation anxiety, getting out of the house for a bit of fun of your own can be tough. Maybe your dog is happy to stay home, but you just want to include Fido in your weekend plans. No matter the reason, with a little training and planning, the drive in or movies in the park can be dog friendly fun that anyone can enjoy.
One of the best parts of summer is going to the movies.
We’re so lucky that we have one of the last great drive ins not that far from us. We’re even luckier that the drive in is totally dog friendly and on any given night you can see a ton of families there with their dogs in tow. There is something that is just so much fun about a drive in. We love getting into our jammies, grabbing pillows and blankets and curling up in the car for a great show. Fe loves being able to stick his face out the car window and Kol loves being in close proximity to popcorn. (He lives for the moment that I am inevitably a clumsy oaf and I spill.)
Even if you don’t have a drive in, all over outdoor movies are becoming a popular part of summer fun.
At parks and beaches all over, events are popping up showing both new movies and classic favourites projected onto giant blow ups, the sides of buildings and other make-shift style movie screens. Locals hunker down on their lawn chairs and blankets and I love the sense of community. The great part about outdoor movies here in BC is that they’re often 100% dog friendly and you’re welcome to bring Fido along to enjoy a dog friendly picnic, snuggle under the stars and enjoy the show.
What do you need to know before you bring your dog to the movies?
We’re sharing our tips and tricks to make your doggy movie date a success.
- Always make sure your dog is comfortable. If you have a dog that is nervous with large crowds, surprise noises or unfamiliar situations, this outing might not be a good fit for you. Action moves can be load. People often shout at the screen and the horns, hootin’ and hollerin’ is going to go wild when this happens:
- Make sure your dog is kid friendly, dog friendly and people friendly. I know you guys. Owning a reactive dog is hard, but this would be a hot den of problems for a dog who just isn’t ready for this much social interaction. Consider your dog and their current fears & anxieties. If you think they can sit calmly in the car with you, without barking at passing by men in hats, running children and laughing women, then awesome! An outdoor movie can be even harder because all those things can get up close & personal. Make sure your dog is ready.
- A tired dog is a happy dog. Busy situations with lots of people and pets can be overwhelming. Kolchak gets crazy excited. For us, the key to a good outing is a tired dog, Make sure you take a big walk, play a rousing game of fetch or somehow exercise your dog before the show. There’s nothing worse than trying to watch a movie when they’re trying to break free!
- Bathroom business. Drive ins are crowded and full of cars. The outdoor movies are busy and full of kids. The last thing you want is your dog poppin’ a squat right in the middle of a busy event venue. Part of making sure fun events like these stay dog friendly is being a responsible owner. Make sure your dog does their business before you bring them to the movies.
- Snacks, snacks and more snacks! What is a movie with out the snacks?! I can’t go a single trip without getting some hot, buttery popcorn, but I don’t like to share this treat with my dogs. While a kernel or two is probably safe, I don’t like to give my dogs butter or grain, plus that’s MY popcorn. Back up off it Kolchak! I always packa bag of dog friendly snacks to share while we watch.
- Avoid bringing toys/chews that can trigger resource guarding. Sure Fido loves his favourite squeaky and a long chew on a nice bully stick, but a public park isn’t the best place to share these things. Dogs can be possessive of their favourite toys/treats, so consider leaving them at home. For us, that means no bully sticks or trachea chews at the outdoor movies.
- You’re going to need a strong OFF or LEAVE IT command. Like I’m talking diamond tough here. People love to snack at the movies and people are droppy and messy and if they don’t have dogs, they might not know that you need to guard the popcorn bag like it’s a priceless gem and the dog on the next blanket is a renounced jewel thief. Talk about awkward. “Hey! Sorry my dog stuck his whole face in your popcorn. Can I have that if you’re not going to finish it?”
- Teach your dog a “settle” command. The movies are so much fun! I totally get why a lot of dogs want to wander around, check out the neighbours and treat the whole night like a meet ‘n’ greet, but for woof sakes! SIT DOWN KOLCHAK. Making sure your dog knows when it’s time to settle down and watch the movie (or at least have a nap) is super handy.
Do you have a drive in or movies in the park in your town?
Have you ever brought your dog? What tips do you have to make the whole trip fun and successful for the whole family?