I'm Embarrassed by My Dog. What Can I Do?
When you're out in public and your dog is misbehaving, you may think that the eyes of the people around you are casting harsh judgment. You may feel like everyone is silently criticizing you and your dog. It's important to remember that this is not the case. People most often aren't paying any attention to what's going on around them, since most people are too busy thinking about themselves and their own problems to pay much mind to what others are doing.
Even if they are paying attention to what is happening, the odds are pretty high that they are more sympathetic to your plight than you may think. When a dog is misbehaving, it isn't necessarily a reflection of owner ineptitude. Many owners don't realize that there are reasons behind most bad behavior in dogs, and these reasons can be addressed to help correct the problem.
For every one person that might be thinking badly of your dog's behavior, there are twenty people who think your dog is adorable or sweet or funny. Even if some people are silently judging you, the majority of them are thinking much more positively about your dog than you think.
Mindset is Everything When Training a Dog
As Daniel points out:
"That perception you have is really of yourself. Not many people I know will walk by and mock somebody that has a dog out of control or will be offended by that person. Unless the dog is off-leash and dangerous or something, but just for regular obedience, I like to think that most people will have some compassion."
So, put yourself in other people's shoes for a moment: if you were walking down the street and saw another person looking embarrassed and frustrated, would you be silently judging them? Or would you feel pity for them?
Now that we've gotten that out of the way, let's focus on what to do if your dog really is misbehaving in public. First things first: Recognize there is an issue. The second is diagnosing the issue and making a plan to address the problem. This means seeking out professional assistance with identifying and correcting behavioral issues.
Because every situation is unique, it's not always possible to address every single problem a dog may have right away. Many owners are surprised by new problems cropping up after they've already solved an earlier issue. This doesn't mean that you are a failure as an owner if you struggle with your dog in certain situations. In fact, that is the last thing you should be concerned about. Training a dog is a series of small steps to success. So, take pride in the fact that you are working to correct issues.