Outdoor events are great ways to spend time with family, friends, and with a little extra planning, your canine companion too! With the right preparation and planning, bringing your dog along to outdoor events can be a doggone good time for everyone. 

First, make sure that the event is in a dog-friendly location and follow all the posted rules. Make sure that other people attending the event are okay with you bringing your dog. 

What to bring: 

  • Leash
  • Food and water bowls
  • Dog bed or a towel/blanket
  • Long line or tie out
  • Chew toys or enrichment toys 
  • Dog treats
  • Tennis ball, frisbee, or other retrieving toys

Once you arrive to the event, choose a place to set up your dog’s things before doing anything else. The area should be shaded and away from all food and cooking stations. Be sure that you choose an area close by where you can have an eye on your dog at all times. Once you pick an area, set up your dog’s things by laying out a blanket or towel and scattering a few treats on it. Fill your dog’s water bowl and make sure that his long line is properly secured. Before walking away, allow your dog to explore his area and settle in. 

Have your dog on a leash when introducing him to other guests. Be sure to have lots of treats on hand to reward him for being well-behaved or to divert his attention if he gets too excited. To avoid your dog jumping on other guests, tell him to “sit” before someone approaches him. Do not force your dog to go up to anyone. If your dog appears nervous or overwhelmed, take him back to his area and let him settle down. 

When people begin to eat, take your dog back to his area and give him a stuffed Kong or other enrichment toy to keep him busy. 

You know your dog best. If your dog gets overstimulated, overwhelmed, or nervous in new environments, it is probably best to leave him back home where he will be more comfortable. 

Always pick up after your dog. 

Be on the lookout for picnic scraps such as chicken bones and other litter that could harm your dog. 

Be prepared to leave early. If you notice your dog is uncomfortable or having a hard time settling down, it’s best to pack up and call it a day. Although you may be a bit disappointed, your dog’s safety and wellbeing always come first. 

NEVER leave your dog in the car. In both warm and cold temperatures, the effects of leaving your dog in the car can be fatal.


If you would like information from an Anti-Cruelty Society Behavior Specialist regarding this behavior topic, please call 312-645-8253 or email behavior@anticruelty.org.

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