Why You Should Take Your Dog to the Mall

 Honey Wants to Be an Underwear Model

Victoria Secrets Pink Dogs

Yep, they're cute. But I agree with Honey. She's much cuter than the Victoria's Secret pink dogs.

On Saturday, Honey will walk by Victoria’s Secret in the mall. And I know just what she’ll be thinking: “I’d be a cuter model in the store window than that stupid stuffed thing.” And she’d be right.

But we don’t take Honey to the Pet Expo at our local mall to show her possible employment opportunities. We do it to check out local pet-related businesses and organizations, practice good behavior in an unusual and stimulating environment, and be good ambassadors for dogdom. And of course, we do it just because it’s fun.

What Dogs Should Go to the Mall (or Pet Expo)?

I’ve been reading all over blogdom about Pet Expos throughout the country. This is a fun time to meet local rescues, check out trainers and other dog services, and sample all kinds of goodies (well, your dog would sample them, I guess).

But Pet Expos are great places to take your dog. What kinds of dogs?

  • Puppies – In your first month with a puppy, you should introduce him to at least 100 new people. This is also the time to introduce your dog to slippery floors, shiny surfaces, strange noises and anything else you want him to feel relaxed about in his future.
  • Dogs in Training – Which should really be every dog. We never stop learning, do we? What a wonderful time to practice “stay” in a distracting setting. And it’s never bad to work on impulse control.
  • Reactive Dogs – I can almost hear you in my head. “Are you kidding, Pam? I’d never take my crazy, lunging dog to a building filled with strange people and their dogs.” But one of the most effective ways of working with reactive dogs is to allow them to see what causes them to react at a distance and rewarding them for not exhibiting unwanted behaviors. That means that your visit to the Pet Expo might never get you in the door. You’ll probably spend it in the far reaches of the parking lot with your dog watching other dogs and their people enter the building. But if you want a bunch of “set ups” to work with your dog, you won’t find a better one.

Pamela and Honey Go to the Mall

Tired Golden Retriever at the Shops at Ithaca Mall

Whew, shopping is very tiring. I hope we break out those sample biscuits for a little pick-me-up.

This will be Honey’s fourth visit to the Pet Expo at the Shops at Ithaca Mall. We took her when she was a wee puppy (sorry, no pictures). We returned last spring to continue work on her socialization and training. And this past October we got to test our little ‘fraidy dog around spooky Halloween decorations.

Since we’re just beginning to use agility equipment in our attempt to build Honey’s confidence, I’m really looking forward to visiting the 4H Dog Agility area. Last time, they had several pieces of equipment set up in the mall for dogs to try.

And of course, we never go to the mall without visiting the SPCA annex where cats are available for adoption every day. Now that’s the kind of “pet store” I like to see in a mall.

But I guess we’re just yokels. Our friend Elizabeth takes her Corgis Jon Farleigh and Dewi to her local mall (they’re pet-friendly all year around) where they check out Tiffany’s. I’m just pleased they’re humble enough to still associate with dogs who get their bling from the Salvation Army thrift store. :)

Tiffany’s or not, I’m happy our local mall sponsors this event twice a year. It’s fun to do something different with Honey. I love learning about other pet-related activities and businesses in the area. And it’s great practice to build Honey’s confidence and good manners.

Pet Expo - Shops at Ithaca MallIf you’re an Ithacan, stop by the Shops at Ithaca Mall this Saturday between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. And have some fun shopping with your dog.
[Pink Dog photo by Glenn on Flickr.]

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  1. wow that looks like fun, I wish we had that at our malls – I would love to participate!

  2. I’m not sure my local mall has these, but I will keep a look out for them. We do have one mall that is not an indoor mall and dogs are allowed there and in some of the stores, but I don’t usually take my dogs there because I cannot handle both of them by myself in that area.

    I hope you and Honey have fun and don’t forget your camera!

    BTW when I saw your heading, “Honey wants to be an underwear model” I was almost afraid to look. I expected to see a photo of Honey in….underwear. 😀

  3. Our malls used to allow dogs, but too many people didn’t clean up after them so as so often happens, we all have to suffer. I am envious of you and Honey.

  4. This is such a great event and I’d love it if our local mall got on board. Sadly, after an incident with Santa Photos a few years ago they won’t even entertain the idea of dogs in the mall anymore. Booo. Maybe I should forward them this post?

    I hope you have a great time! It’s so exciting Honey is trying out agility!

  5. That’s fun, I would like to see something like this were I live.

  6. DeDe would LOVE to go to the mall…. she loves shopping! *rolls eyes*

  7. What the heck is a mall?? BOL! Haven’t seen one of those since we lived down state! Ain’t nothing like that in these back woods!!

    I’ll just say it sounds interesting. I think Fiona or Zappa might be OK in the parking or even going up to the door. It would be neat to try. They’ve been in a few buildings with only a few people before. Now you’ve got me curious!

    Hope you and Honey have a great time. Did you buy her any Victoria Secret to bring home and model for you??

  8. Thanks for sharing Pamela! You’re lucky your dogs can go to the indoor malls. As far as I know none of the indoor malls around here allow dogs. We do have outdoor malls that allow dogs and one in particular that allows most of the dogs into the stores. Lucky for me as a guide dog puppy raiser I can take my pups into any shopping mall when they’re in jacket.

    I do agree that puppies need to be socialized at an early age, but one thing that would worry me about bringing them to a pet expo is the possibility of disease and over-socialization. If you do bring your puppy to an event like a pet expo I’d be very aware of your surroundings and be sure your puppy is not getting overwhelmed by too much noise or movement.

    Our local Pet Expo actually starts tomorrow and Apache, my 16 month old guide dog pup and I are working at the guide dog booth. Our guide dog school does not allow our puppies under 6 months of age to attend this pet expo.

  9. Ever since we read about Dewi and Jon Farleigh in Tiffany’s, Bunny’s been begging me to take her! Can you imagine the kind of damage she could do to my pocketbook? lol

    Actually, I do wish we could go into our local stores with the dogs. It’s important for so many reasons. It does build confidence and the more things your dog sees, the better they can handle new things they encounter. I am so glad we got Kuster out to see things when he was little. He handles new things beautifully! Even the alpacas we saw last weekend were no big deal. He stopped and stared at them for a minute, because he’d never seen anything like them, and the smell was overwhelming even for me. I can’t imagine what an olfactory overload it was for his little nose. However, after he looked at them, he walked on and never gave them another thought.

  10. How interesting that you have a Pet Expo at the Mall. Sadly, ours is at the convention enter and dogs aren’t allowed unless part f a rescue, performing or being a good doggie ambassador. Truthfully, I don’t think I would take my easily frightened pups anyways. Ever since Lady went on the lamb I’ve been a bit reluctant to take her to too many big events and if I do, I don’t take her with all the dogs. Just too many to manage. But, I love the thought of doing it someday. Maybe our malls could have a pet expo here!

    Now I have got to go read about the Tiffany’s! If I know Elizabeth, it will be one worth reading. :)