Wouldn’t it be nice if you could enjoy some quality time at a restaurant with friends and not worry about what your dog might do?
I have had clients tell me their dogs jumped right up into the food on the table or drug them to a neighboring table to see what food was over there-how embarrassing…
I like to teach a default settle which means the dog does the behavior without being told to do it.
First thing is to teach the dog to lay down and settle on their own.
Get a handful of treats and go sit in the easy chair with your dog on a leash. Ignore the dog until they settle. Mark the behavior with a “yes” or click then feed treats. As they continue to lay calmly you can reward the dog for being calm. Be careful and don’t reinforce the dog for thinking about the treats wait until they are relaxed-maybe looking away-then calmly feed them. Don’t tell them to lay down-they have to figure it out on their own.
After a few sessions of this your dog will come lay at your feet when you sit. Gradually space the feeding so you get you longer and longer times between reinforcement.
Now make it harder by adding distractions.
Have another dog come near.
Bring a child around to play and move around.
Practice while you are sitting at your own table.
Practice during meal time.
Take it on the road.
Start easy at a park where you can seat yourself farther away from the action.
Move to closer benches or sit on the ground closer and closer to the playground area or busy section.
Now go to a pet friendly restaurant.
There are several downtown like Trolley's or Brew CO. with outdoor seating or in the Galloway area like Emack and Bolios or Creekside Cafe.Don’t let them practice annoying behaviors like putting paws on your lap or begging. Be sure you are watching for calmness and not anticipating the treats.