When your dog embarrasses you...
If you have a dog, I'm sure you must have experienced that moment. All of a sudden, your well behaved pooch, takes off in a pet store; your housetrained pride and joy poops in the middle of the living room during Thanksgiving dinner; the apple of your eye decides she no longer wishes to look at anyone with a beard without letting them know how unsightly it is, and barks her head off.
Sounds familiar? Thought so. Take comfort in knowing that you are not alone.
How are you supposed to deal with those moments?
#1. Plan ahead. Well developed housetraining habits will help to ensure that "accidents" will remain just that, rare accidents. I would also take out excitable pups for longer walks, make sure they have a chance to go potty before guests arrive. If an accident does happen, there isn't much to do, but to clean the mess with Enzyme cleaner.
#2. Apologize and move away. When your dog starts barking at someone (on a skateboard?) for no apparent reason - apologize, do not pet (!) or treat (!) your pup, in order not to encourage the unwanted behavior. If you can - bring their focus back to you. If you need to move away from the situation causing havoc in order to make that happen - then move. As soon as you catch a glimpse of your pup's eyes, ask them for a sit, ask them to give you a paw, give one command after another and praise once their attention returns to you.
#3. Take classes. One puppy class will not be enough for a lifetime of good behavior from your dog. Accept that. "But I can teach my dog to sit myself," argument does not hold water. Taking obedience classes has much more to do with developing a relationship with your dog, where they look up to you as a leader. This takes time and consistent effort.
#4. Shrug it off. Dogs are like little kids. They'll do things that will make you embarrassed. That's okay. Keeps us young!
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