As a trainer, I often get this question from my clients with children.  Is it ok to bring my puppy to the soccer game?  When he’s there all he does is jump on people and try to nip them and it’s hard to manage.  Should I just keep bringing him until he grows out of it?

Before considering bringing your pup to a social event, here are some things to think about:

  • Make sure your dog has the right temperament for a kids’ event.  This includes being super social with people (and possibly other dogs), tolerant to loud noises and shouts, tolerant to appropriate & inappropriate petting (kids are often the worst offenders of this), and no history of aggression.
  • Make sure your dog is ready for a kids’ sporting event. Bringing a puppy or an adult dog new to your home to a very public event can be quite overwhelming.  Wait until you really know your dog well (often at least six months) before expecting nice behavior in public.
  • Train them to behave without the distractions Wilson2

For Wilson (pictured), his family would like to take him to games so we worked on a “go to bed” cue on empty bleachers.  We will build up to working him at an actual game, but for now we have to get the desired behavior (go to bed and sit or lie down) without distractions present.

We also worked on his default behavior for when I sit on a bench / bleachers is for him to sit as well.

It sounds simple, but if you want good behavior in public, you have to train in public.  Find an empty field and start training!  Wilson3

by Mandy Saunders, CPDT-KA