Dog Owner Coach

Let’s Talk Dogs: Socialization

Posted by  //  August 19, 2015  //  Local Business

This is not about aggression. This is about socialization: what it is and what it isn’t.  We socialize dogs so we can share social experiences together:   exercise, leisurely walks, old friends and family, new friends and family. You want your dog to tolerate vet, groomer, boarding kennel without incident.

Some dogs love “social,” some don’t. Some are resilient, “go with the flow” dogs.  Some aren’t.  How do we socialize? The rules for puppies are a bit different but here are the basics.

Teach your dog manners that apply at home and out-and-about.

Keep him on- leash while you’re training until he’s reliable. The leash is your friend if used correctly and humanely.

A leash restricts a dog’s ability to communicate in the ways that dogs communicate, but we start teaching good manners on-leash so you can practice good manners safely anywhere you go.

Dogs speak and read body language. Grow at least a basic understanding of what your dog is saying to you and other dogs.  A stiff body and a wagging tail is NOT a friendly dog.  A staring dog is NOT a friendly dog.

A good choice for a meet-and-greet : a well-mannered dog who is not pulling, paying attention to her owner,  loose wiggly enthusiasm, play bows, open mouth, soft happy eyes.

Never force a dog face-to-face with another dog or person. Your dog doesn’t have to schmooze every dog and person he sees.  It’s not safe.

If you meet-and-greet on-leash, watch your dog. Don’t let the leashes get tangled.

Many dogs are friendlier off-leash than on.  Keep on-leash meet-and-greets short and safe.  If you want the dogs to play, meet some place where you can let them off leash.

Know your dog.  If your dog or the other dog doesn’t want to say hi (either dog is looking away or moving away), keep going!

If your dog is hanging around you or trying to hide, your dog doesn’t feel safe.  Acknowledge it.  Take your dog and move on. Come back another time. Dogs don’t enjoy social encounters if they don’t feel safe.

The hardest task of all: control the people around your dog! Both bossy and shy dogs need you to take charge.  Keep it safe for the dog, from the dog’s point of view, and for those around him.

A well-socialized dog can relax, ignore dogs and people unless invited, give you attention, obey your commands, play safely with other dogs off-leash, tolerate handling by vet, groomer, and friends.

Some dogs don’t like groups,  unfamiliar dogs or people but most dogs, given enough space and training can learn to walk politely on leash.  There are always risks and it takes time, but it’s time well-taken!

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