Want your dog to be well-behaved in public? Here's what one trainer recommends

Three friends meet in the park with their dogs
(Image credit: Getty Images)

For many dog parents, having a dog who’s well-behaved in public is an absolute dream! Many of us have or have had dogs who can be good as gold at home, but just don’t seem to listen when you’re out and about with them. 

Not only can this be frustrating and disheartening, but it can potentially be dangerous, too. If your dog runs off in a busy area, or where there might be less friendly dogs or people around, the outcome might not be very nice. 

Fortunately, however, getting a well-behaved dog in public — whether they’re sporting one of the best dog leashes or not — doesn’t need to be difficult. In fact, just a few key things can go a really long way in ensuring that your pup is well-behaved when you’re out with them. 

And, certified dog trainer Melissa Goodman of Mission Pawsitive has discussed them in a new Instagram post after she went to an event with her dog, Aspen.

While Goodman says that it’s important for your dog to be comfortable around other people and dogs, she explains that it’s important for them to be neutral, too! 

“There were over 550 people and probably 100 plus dogs at Clicker Expo,” she says. “Being able to settle is crucial, which is actually something Aspen struggles with sometimes. When she had to watch other dogs work close to her, I made sure she had something good to keep her occupied and relaxed.”

If your dog loves to play and socialize, that’s great. However, it’s important that your pup learns to be calm and relaxed in public, too, and keep themselves occupied. 

The other main skill for dogs to learn if you want them to be well-behaved in public is to be great on a loose leash, even when you’re walking through a distracting crowd. It’s not always easy for dogs to keep walking when there’s so much to take in, but if your dog masters this, it’ll make your life a lot easier! 

As Goodman says, “If your dog can ignore people and other dogs, that will make it so much easier to take them places.”

She finishes by saying that, while Aspen was really well-behaved during the conference, it came after plenty of practice and hard work. There’s no reason why you can’t get to the same point with your own pup — as long as you don’t expect miracles to happen overnight. Here are 32 common dog behavior problems and solutions that might be helpful in the meantime.

If you want your dog to listen to you when you’re in public with them, you might find this article useful: Teaching my dog to 'stop' was the best thing I ever did, here's why.

Adam England
Freelance Writer

Adam is a freelance journalist covering lifestyle, health, culture, and pets, and he has five years' experience in journalism. He's also spent the last few years studying towards undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in journalism. While a cat person at heart, he's often visiting his parents' Golden Retriever, and when he's not writing about everything pets he's probably drinking coffee, visiting a cat cafe, or listening to live music.