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Friday, August 31, 2012

Taking Wolfie to a Restaurant

I would love to take Wolfie to my favorite restaurant, but I am afraid he would just go nuts with all the people, sights, and smells.  Is there any way I can "teach" Wolfie to be good at restaurants?



The good news is that it can be pretty easy to get Wolfie, or just about any dog, to be well behaved at your favorite restaurant.  First, you have to understand that if you like to hang out at a popular sports bar, it will take longer than if you like to sit outside at Panera Bread.  In any event, the process is the same for either place.  Here is what you do:

The intent of this training process is to slowly ease Wolfie into the new environment of the restaurant while you maintain your alpha leadership role and Wolfie continues to look to you for guidance and safety.

First, you and Wolfie go to the restaurant when there is nobody there or the restaurant is closed.  Sit off in a corner with Wolfie.  Have some food with you so that you can simulate having a meal.  Also, have something for Wolfie so that you can be in charge of his focus.  Repeat this process until Wolfie becomes completely comfortable with the environment.

Next, continue this process but enlist the help of a friend.  Have your friend slowly talk up to your table, talk with you for a moment or two and walk away.  Have your friend come again with something in his hands that he will place on the table.  Correct Wolfie if he starts to give your friend too much focus or he starts to get up.  Repeat this process until Wolfie could completely care less when people approach your table and you.  (We have now completed the "waiter test".)

We are now ready to add more people, noise, and smells to the training experience.  Come to the restaurant during a slow period, but when there still are other patrons and employees.  Be sure that you are still sitting away from a main passageway.  You should inform your waiter when you enter the restaurant that you are training Wolfie to be a good canine patron so he might see you correcting him while he is taking your order and bringing you your food.  

Have your meal and correct Wolfie if he starts to have too much focus on other patrons, waiters, etc.  Continue this process with Wolfie until you see that he is calm with the sights and sounds of the restaurant at that level of activity.  If you believe that Wolfie is becoming pensive or nervous, cut that day's training session short (ask for a doggie bag) and come at a slightly quieter time for your next training visit.

Repeat the above process, slowly coming at more active times until you are coming at your normal time.  Please be aware that the really loud, crazy restaurants might just be too much for Wolfie at specific times.  In that case, you will have to adjust your schedule for Wolfie.  Also, be sure that the restaurant allows dogs.  If it doesn't, you will have to find a new restaurant.  For more information, please contact The Best Dog Trainers in South Florida.

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