Dogs and BBQs

Summer to a dog means one thing… Fun!

  • Trips to the beach
  • Swims in the pool
  • People and their dogs over for BBQ’s
  • Lots of titbits and meat leftovers
  • And problem solving games…

The problem solving is the reason I am writing. I would like it to be our problem to solve but often it is the dog that takes up the initiative. Here are a few examples of a dog taking it on themselves to problem solve.

Example 1

How do I access that defrosting food that has been left in my garden. It must be for me. They also put my food out here… mmm… move chair… Up, quick trust yourself, leap… delicious if a little crunchy in the middle!

Example 2  

How to clear up after a late night and some bbq tools and prep materials has been left out. Same technique… Ha! I have this down pat thinks the dog.

Example 3

How to access that bin that’s smells soooo much more delicious and distracting in the heat.

Mmmmm… jump and sniff , mmm jump, jump and land hard… repeat several times, jackpot, bin is over, push yes, lids open, ok treat like food dispensing toy human bought me for my birthday, jump bite, squish… delicious! Oh and then don’t forget the best bit roll in it!!!!

Ballington-sniffing-bbqExample 4

And this is my worst nightmare… the hot BBQ. Burnt nose, burnt paws, much yelping, abandoning your guests for a quick trip to the emergency vet clinic on the weekend. You get the picture!

So how what can we train to avoid this behaviour?

It’s our problem to solve. Here are a few ideas:

Teach your dog to Go To Bed and Stay.

The key to success with any stay is to teach the dog that all good things happen when they relax and do nothing.  Tell them to go to their bed and stay. Reward them for just being on the bed. (Don’t worry about the sit, drop or eye contact, just focus for having four paws on the bed and your dog staying there.)

Train your dog to Leave It.

An essential skill. Rewarding your dog for moving away from the object (BBQ with a some bread on the side). Initial training would be to train the dog to stop focusing on the bread, watching and immediately  acknowledging the second when your dog decides to look away then extending the skill to an  object in our hands, on the floor and emitting delicious smells .

Train your dog to Play!

This is a great reward if you are having a long lunch party. The dog can be rewarded for long periods of staying on their mat by having a 20 minute play session with your guests. Tug, fetch, and find the toy? Guests usually enjoy a bit of play time too. Just make sure you supervise, a toy landing on the BBQ is a problem!

So I think it is clear to see that we all can have a dog that knows how to behave around food when we are outside and entertaining, especially aorund the BBQ and food area.  Remember to make the time  to keep you dog thinking and learning the behaviours we want ie. Go To Bed, Leave It and Play this summer.

Management tips for the day of the BBQ

On the day, you can also head off any potential issues by managing your dog and the enviroment. Here’s a few tips for the day:

  • Don’t leave your dog outside and alone with the BBQ on. Paws. Muzzles, mouths and tongues can get burnt too easily.
  • Don’t create a punishing area by asking your dog to go to a place without anything to do, while everyone else is having fun and they are doing nothing. Watch they will problem solve… barking… scratching… chewing.
  • Consider having your dog attached to you, so engaging with people and learning at the same time.

So there you have it. How to have your dog around while having a BBQ, either at your house or at a friends. Get the training started now so by summer you’ll have a well-mannered dog that you can be proud of! Want some one on one training or a course to get you and your dog started? Drop us a line via our contact form, we’re always happy to help.