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5 Skills Your Pooch Should Know Before You Attend a Dog-Friendly Event

5 Skills Your Pooch Should Know Before You Attend a Dog-Friendly Event

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One of our favourite things to do in the summer is to attend dog-friendly events.

black miniature poodle mix dog in a blue kiddie pool at a pet friendly event
Felix adored going to dog events. Here is he is Paws in the Park, glaring at me from the pool 32 seconds after I told the photographer he “wouldn’t get in the pool”.

Living in Vancouver, we are a dog-loving city. There are doggos everywhere and people love to get out and explore beautiful, supernatural BC with their furry friends.

Baby Koly at a dog friendly hiking event.

But not all dogs are ready to attend pet-friendly events. More often than not, they require some training and socialization before they really enjoy going out to busy places.

At every single pet event I have ever intended (including the BlogPaws conference which should be 100% pet owners who KNOW BETTER), I’ve met pets who just aren’t ready to be there.

I get it.

Koly, Fe and I at the annual Paws for a Cause walk the year Felix tore his darn CCL.

Imagine you’re a dog and your whole world is made up primarily of a small handful of people and then all of the sudden, you’re dragged out into a busy event filled with weird noises, funny smells, and a metric crap ton of people – all of whom want to pet you. It would be so overwhelming.

With just a little work, you can help get your dog ready to rock it at pet events.

7 Skills Your Dog Should Know Before You Attend a Pet Friendly Event

How many of these dog-friendly event skills does your dog already know? How many do you still need to work on?

If you aren’t there yet, that’s OK! Our dogs are always growing and learning. Just because they aren’t ready to fo to a pet event today, doesn’t mean they can’t learn. Work on these skills and work towards it.

Kolchak and Fe at an ice cream sundae event at the local pet store.

Tips for attending dog-friendly events before your dog is rock solid.

Go slow.

It's so tempting to want to see everything at a cool pet-friendly event, but when your dog is still feeling out a new space, going slow can make it such a better experience. Let your dog guide you in how far into the event the want to go.

Skirt the edges of the venue.

When Kolchak was a puppy, I went to pet friendly events and never even entered the event space! When your dog is still learning those essential skills, sometimes just practicing around the perfect amount of exposure to help your dog maintain focus and work on those new skills.

Take snack and water breaks away from the crowd.

Events can be overwhelming enough for your dog without risking resource guarding in your or other dogs. We always bring our own collapsable water bowl and water bottles, as well as snacks and then remove ourselves from the crowd before giving them to Kol.

Leave early.

When your dog is new to attending events, leaving early is a great way to keep the experience positive. The longer you're there, the longer there is for something to potentially go wrong. Start small and work your way up to staying longer at events.

Work with dog-loving friends to plan small private events to practice.

I love any excuse to hang out with friends and their dogs! small events like back yard bbqs and parties at home are a great way to introduce your dog to the busyness of events slowly.

Respect your dog's limits and choose events where your dog can succeed.

It's so important to understand your dog and what makes them uncomfortable. If your dog hates quick movements and a lot of noise, a children's event is probably not a great place to start. If they are a notorious food hound, don't start at a food truck rally. Respecting your dogs limitations and only taking them places where they are likely to succeed will help them - and ypu - feel confident in their pet-friendly event skills.

Food is such a big temptation at a pet-friendly event. LOOK AT KOL’S FACE. The hot dog smell in the air at our towns market days and food truck rally was **intense**.

How do you help your dog succeed at pet-friendly events? What’s your favourite kind of event to go to?

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