Common Questions for Going Outside with Your Dog
Dogs love spending time outside because there are so many interesting smells, sights, and sounds. How to make the outdoor experience better for both you and your puppy? What you need to pay attention to? In this article, we will discuss going outside with your dog, including exercise safety, and how to manage your dog when they explore the surrounding environment.
- How old does your puppy have to be before youcan take them outside?
Proper and positive socialization and exposure has lasting effects on the rest of your dog's life. Therefore, the consequences of under socializing your puppy far outweigh the risks of safely going outside before they are fully vaccinated. Even the American Veterinary Society of animal behavior set to say the primary and most important time for puppy socialization is in the first three months of life. During this time, puppies should be exposed to as many people, animals, stimuli, and environments as can be achieved safely. Of course, you want to keep them safe from diseases that might be carried in other animal feces, so plan your outings carefully. Skip those dog parks and public places where unknown dogs have been hanging out. However, you must take your dog to new places like stores, fields, and parking lots, or even friends' houses. We don't want all exposure to new things to involve interactions, which could be potentially very overwhelming and scary to a young puppy. So, after their second set of vaccine shots is taken, they can play with one or two dogs that you know for the first play date experience.
- After my puppy has a potty break, he doesn't want to come inside. What do I do?
Spending time outside with your puppy is good for both of you. Let them explore the yard on a long leash and play fun games. It's a great way to burn off some energy, but it is recommended to separate playtime and potty time. That way the routine of taking a potty break and then coming inside is well established. Even if you go inside for a very short time, do a quick game of tug or a training game in the house. Then you can go back out to the yard and play. This helps establishing that potty time is completely different than playtime. Be sure that the fun doesn't have to end when he goes inside, otherwise he's never going to want to go inside. Transition to inside with some fun games and treats and he'll be more likely to abide by your request.
- Why does your dog stop and lay down when you take them outside for walks?
We call this pancaking and it means that your dog is not interested in continuing. That doesn't mean you have to stop all walks. After all, dogs who do not receive the appropriate amount of exercise can display some unwanted and frustrating behaviors. The resistance during the walk means you've likely advanced too quickly in the training and there's too much going on for your dog to feel comfortable. This is your cue to continue working with him to unleash skills in your house and then slowly working up to training outside. There's a lot to take in from the outside environment, especially if the puppy is used to being inside. That's one reason to get your puppy out and about when he or she is young. So the outside world isn't so scary. Take it slow, start with decompression walks, and work on those leash skills in non distracting environments.
- What are some fun things I can do with my puppy outside? My games effects are getting boring.
Mini agility obstacle courses are fun for dogs. This includes things to climb over, tunnels to go through, things to go around, and things to move to get treats for kibble. You can use tasty treats to teach him how to navigate some of those items. So keep in mind that he may not know what to do with all of them in the beginning. You may have to keep your expectations low, and your patience high. Another great toy for the backyard is a sprinkler or even a shallow-filled kiddie pool. Water in general can be so much fun. If your dog seems nervous about it, start slow with a kiddie pool with just a few inches of water. Although messes like mud hindered our human annoyance, dogs don't mind. All the different textures are good for exposure training, so he gets used to those new things. If you want to make sure your dog doesn't track well at the end of the house, teach him to offer you his paws when he comes inside.
- What temperatures are too hot or too cold to take a puppy outside?
Temperature and humidity are both important to take into consideration when taking your puppy outside. Those who have shorter noses and swished in faces have a harder time regulating their temperatures in the warmer weather and have a difficult time breathing when they overexert themselves. So be sure you allow pauses in play and lots of cool down periods so your dog doesn't overheat. Know the signs of heatstroke in your dog, including excessive panting, excessive drooling, fever, bright red or gray or bluish gums, muscle tremors, weakness, vomiting, and diarrhea. Check the temperature of the walking surface with the back of your hand or the bottom of your foot. If you can't stand it for more than 10 seconds. It's not safe for your dog.
- My puppy barks and lunges at other dogs when we go outside. What can I do about this?
Many factors can contribute to a dog walking poorly on the leash. They have pent-up energy, they are overstimulated, there are too many distractions, and maybe they haven't been reinforced correctly. It's common to have to pull back in your training when you first start working on leash skills. It takes a lot of pre-training for a dog to walk calmly on a leash and pay no attention to the distractions around them. We work with low-level distractions when we first start and gradually add in distractions as training sessions progress.
- Last but not least, check your dog for fleas and ticks regularly. You can do this as part of your post-walk routine and it's a nice cool downactivity for your pup. You can use a metal comb to brush your dog's fur after a walk outdoors. If you didn't, use the hairdryer on the cool setting to blow the fur apart to see down to the skin. Ticks carry Lyme disease and that can make your dog and you very sick.