Training dogs in public places - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-24-2012, 03:43 AM Thread Starter
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Training dogs in public places

In Germany dogs are expected to behave in public places. Granted we've got tons of "Oh, he's friendly" and than they are not, kind of folks. Or dogs that don't behave but generally, a lot of people take their dogs to public places and to restaurants and the dogs behave, while over here, it's not such a common sight and people seem to have a very different opinion about training dogs in public places.
I know people who have worked their dogs around the crowds at a train station for Schutzhund Competition Obedience, just for example.

Now I have started a whole lot of controversy in my city because I take my dogs to public places and to me it is part of SAR training because we do demonstrations, we go into class rooms and I take that very very seriously and since two of my dogs are in SAR I tend to believe that a heck of a lot more is expected from us and therefor I constantly train for it.

Now some folks believe "it's not needed" and it's not something they do or don't even agree with it.
Personally, tough luck. It's how I things do and it is why I can take all three of my dogs together to places, sit down and they settle. I want to be able to go somewhere or to be in an emergency situation (like I recently was) and not having to worry about my dogs misbehaving or not functioning in that situation. I do want to leave such a good impression that people invite us back because they are impressed with their behavior. I want to be able to say "We are with the Oswego Team." and people are like "Wow, your dogs are well behaved."
And I want to know that they could ride on a bus without having issues to get on the bus and trust me, not every dog is comfortable in riding a bus.

I want to be able to hand them over to somebody else so they can take them on the back seat of one of the trucks, without them going nuts and crazy because I'm not there.
I want somebody else to be able to carry them, if needed. I want them to be comfortable in an elevator, on a rig, on a truck, on the back of an ATV, at a fair with lots of blinking, loud noises, with gunshots, canonshots, fireworks, thunderstorms or simply in a beergarden of a restaurant with lots of food and I want them all to settle underneath a table and relax without bothering anyone. Yes, most of that is strong nerves and temperament and neither of them has any issues with any of that, yet I do not stop training.

To me, that is very important and while they already have strong nerves and the temperament and socialization, I continue to train for it, because you can't have enough training on your dog.

Others may have the same nerve strength, the same temperament but I've seen dogs not being able to settle in a public place because they weren't as used to it as mine. And quite honestly, I rather train for any and all situations I can come across than not train at all. It's not flashy training, it's necessary training that I believe is important to leave a good impression anywhere we go because every day the society expects more of our dogs, and I noticed that people have yet even more expectations of SAR Dogs.

To me, it just never stops and I do believe, in the future it will become even more important while it gets harder and harder to put them through that kind of training because dogs are getting more and more banned from places and all we do is sit back and watch because "hey... there are always other places we can take them to." without ever thinking about that even those places may disappear in the future because we sat back and didn't do anything about it and just let it happen...

Last edited by Mrs.K; 07-24-2012 at 03:50 AM.
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-03-2012, 08:52 PM
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It makes a dog so easy to live with if they cna go more places.

I bring my dog anywhere I legally can. Lawyer, accountant, train station etc. Today we were in the bank. She lay in front of my feet at the teller and the woman next to me was talking to her, bent over and looking...but Kyla never moved. She listened to the lovely compliments, put her head down and waited until I was finished. People coming, going, making eye contact....it is such a good education for the dog and also the public. I think it also made people happy to see a dog with good manners....whenever I have Kyla with me someone is always running to open a door. Good dogs bring ou the goodness in people.

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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-03-2012, 09:14 PM
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I stopped taking Bear to outdoor restaurants because even though he was perfectly behaved too many people were insanely uncomfortable with it. I've had people "whisper" loud enough that I can hear that nobody should bring a dog that large out in public....what do they expect?
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-03-2012, 09:14 PM
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I am all for taking dogs out into public areas in order to make them good citizens, show the public we have well mannered dogs, socialize them, get them used to all types of different situations.

However, I think we (general we), tend to be a "sue happy society", dogs that dont fit into the above, a 'bad apple', can ruin it for others and be a HUGE liability. Then there is the 'food' issue, you won't find many restaurants, eating establishments allowing dogs because of the "health" issue.

Years ago, things were different, I could take my dogs into stores, into outdoor eating establishments, to fairs, now, it's not allowed. Heck the store I worked in (a food store) we had Cats that used to hang out on the counters Now, we'd be shut down so fast it would make your head spin..It's a "health" issue.

There ARE a ton of places I can take my dogs out in public around here, which I'm grateful for and don't abuse..Once someone abuses it tho, it will affect not just that one but everyone.

I guess it depends on where you live and what the laws/rules are.

I can honestly see why the rules/law whatever it is, was put in place with your (MRS K) situation, a dog 'bit' someone, so unfortunately all dogs will pay for one bad apple.

I'm sure it's all about liability.

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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-03-2012, 09:22 PM
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Well, I think if the dog has good nerve it really does not need to be extensively socialized for every possible situation it might encounter. Honestly a hot summer night with deiseling fire trucks, a haze of deisel fumes, and lot of lights, throw in a helicopter...that is a more realistic scenario for a SAR dog than a busy market....

The deal with SAR is you just can't prepare for everything. So enough that the dog is confident no matter what ... even my poorly nerved first dog I washed out (Toby) was able to handle a crowded airport a plane, and elevator and a subway without any major stress and a very good nerved one should not even flinch.

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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-03-2012, 10:28 PM
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I guess I should qualify my statements a little more. I agree, liability is a very real issue everywhere. I always have her on a leash in these places (I'm not talking about hiking in the woods). I never set my dog up for a disaster and there are plenty of times we didn't go into the bank or wherever because the "bad apple" was already in there (a little terrier growling at people in the line up....I'm not kidding either.) But, when I have the opportunity to let the public see what good manners are all about I do, because if the good ones always stay away then the only thing people will remember are the bad ones.
The other thing Mrs. K said about "settling" is also really important. I can go visit family, friends, nursing home etc. and Kyla settles. Her mother, Mia, was so good that way too.....I can still picture her jammed in between the wheelchairs at the Christmas concert in the nursing home with the instruments blaring. The more you can expose them to make them part of your daily life instead of just walks teaches them (and us) so much. Settling becomes second nature.
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-03-2012, 10:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sir Bear View Post
I stopped taking Bear to outdoor restaurants because even though he was perfectly behaved too many people were insanely uncomfortable with it. I've had people "whisper" loud enough that I can hear that nobody should bring a dog that large out in public....what do they expect?
As long as your dog is behaving there is nothing they can do about it except whisper. I would keep taking your dog wherever you can that is allowed

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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-03-2012, 10:44 PM
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When my dogs are puppies/youngsters, they are harder to handle and more piss and vinegar so to speak. They are acting up because they are young and not confident in every situation. Really, whether or not I drag them out, when they are two they are way easier in every situation, and a year or so later they are like bomb-proof.

With a lot of dogs, I don't take them all out constantly, in fact, they are lucky to get out once a week to training class, and if there is no class, they generally don't go. But still, as they mature, they do just fine in public when I do have to take them somewhere.

If I was training a service dog or a SAR dog, then I would be out and about with the pups all the time, I would probably spend at least half of my time every day, wherever I go with the dogs. But most people just do not need that level of socialization.

Maybe service dog organizations, and SAR clubs could be issued a number of vests that if worn by an up and coming member, would allow access where other dogs are not generally permitted.

Frankly, I don't want dogs in restaurants or movie theaters, or grocery stores or banks. My reason is simple. Too many owners are just too stupid, and too many dogs will be that much more likely to get in trouble. The more incidents, the quicker locations are going to put bans and restrictions on dog-ownership. If you want to eat with your dog, stay home and cook. You can cook with your dog, and eat with your dog. But everyone else in the world should not have to pay to eat next to your dog. Eating out is for me something special, I don't eat out often, and when I do, I really don't want someone's ill mannered dog begging, acting up, etc. And the minute it becomes commonplace for well-mannered dogs to be places, people who don't bother to train or curb their dogs will bring them.

My dogs live a great life and do not suffer because they don't accompany me to restaurants, and most other public places.

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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-03-2012, 11:04 PM
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I don't know they really need to be wearing their vests too many places but search training. The vest is only on at training when they are actively searching. Usually the handler takes it off after they found the victim.

They really do not need much more socialization than the average well rounded pet or sport dog. ... the kind of things they need exposure to are things like helicopters, fire engines, lights, smoke, trains, night, farm animals, farm equipment, getting hung up and and unhung from brush and barbed wire, the woods, etc.

I have been on Wilderness SAR teams 1999-2001 and 2003 to present and don't know of anyone who has felt the need to take socialization to the level of crowded public events where dogs are explicitly banned such as festivals etc. Why is this needed?

We do have folks bring the uncertified dogs to searches to get them used to the "scene" without working them because there are many of the things I mentioned as well as

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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-04-2012, 12:32 AM Thread Starter
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I was specifically told to put the vest on them by the city officials so the dogs are not mistaken with pet dogs. Also, the dogs can lose a vest in training or on a search. A dog should be capable of working with or without a vest. If a dog stops working just because he doesn't have his vest on, than the dog shouldn't be in the line of work he's in.

And maybe, just maybe, because of anti-social dogs that are not socialized, yet promoted as search dogs, without obedience "because it kills drive" is because wilderness search dogs have a bad reputation! Been talking about that very issue with some SAR Folks from another team and they said that especially in the past they had a heck of a lot of wilderness search dogs that shouldn't have been search dogs. No manners, nerve bags, anti-social, no obedience and that is why a lot of search dogs have a bad rep.

I've seen enough dogs within the past year that should NOT be on a team. The same goes for Therapy Dogs. Just today there was a dog in daycare with the "I am a Therapy Dog" tag on his collar. That dog is NOT Therapy Dog Material. Went straight into avoidance, snapped at my hand and you could not even touch her, I had to use a leash and tangle it around her neck to be able to take her out of the Kennel Area.

Last edited by Mrs.K; 08-04-2012 at 12:36 AM.
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