It seems like the role of dogs in our families has shifted. We’ve put so much emphasis on dog to dog play that it’s almost changed the way that dogs interact. In today’s video, I’m going to talk to you about the not so popular opinion of dog socialization, but I am going to tell you like it or not, how you can give your dog the best information possible. I’m Ken Steepe and welcome back to McCann Dogs. [inaudible].
When we talk about socialization, the problem itself isn’t with the dog to dog play, but more so in the way that we indiscriminately allow our dogs to play with one another. I hate using a human reference. I, you know, but sometimes it’s the easiest way to communicate the topics like this. So imagine if we were to have to hug or shake hands with every stranger that we met, especially when we didn’t want to do that.
For sure we didn’t, we didn’t get the opportunity to say no, no thank you. Not Today. That seems to be what we’re doing with our dogs. There are so many situations where I hear about, you know on leash issues, aggression, fear, things that come up because we’ve forced our dogs into these situations.
The other thing is that if you give your dog all of these opportunities to go and be rewarded, play with other dogs, have lots of fun and you never insist that they come back or you wait until they’re tired, completely tired out to call them back. They’re really learning that though those other dogs that these other things are more valuable than you. And that’s something that I wanted to talk about today.
We’ve created all these scenarios where, you know, we’ve built dog parks and we’ve created all of these places that our dogs can interact with one another, but we really haven’t focused on the fact that we got a dog for us. We want to have a great relationship with our dog.
We want to give our dog all the opportunities possible for them. We didn’t get our dog so that our neighbor down the street who has a dog has a play thing. You know, we get our dogs so that we can do more with them. And that’s really where some of the, the discussion comes up that people think that our dogs needs to go and greet other dogs, need to meet lots of dogs to develop good social skills.
But that’s really not the case. You need to be really careful when you are figuring out how to socialize your dog with other dogs. Now we’ve talked a little bit about setting your dog up to really see you as a leader and we want you to think about introducing your dog to other dogs that you know a lot about or to, you know, a lot about their handler or their own or you know, someone who’s really on the ball.
The worst case scenario is that people take their dogs to the dog park and just see what happens. You roll the dice or don’t even care. I mean there are probably lots of Doggie daycares out there that are really careful, but there are lots that aren’t and just sort of allow dogs to play together.
So I really want you to keep in mind that once you start to introduce your dog, to socialize with other dogs, that you’re very much aware of what to expect. And there’s a couple of tricks that we use when we’re introducing our dogs to other dogs that you can use as well. A lot of it has to do with matching that personality dog with your own because a couple of things could happen if you have a dog that’s a little bit maybe more worried, it needs to build confidence.
If they’re just getting rolled in, in, you know, body slammed by big burly dogs, that’s gonna break your dog’s confidence. And it might cause things like fear, aggression or you know, just not good behaviors or maybe your is on the other side of the, the post, you know, they’re the one that’s, you know, learning to be a bully or push other dogs around and they’re learning that when they act, you know, like that way the other dogs are going to back off and they get what they want.
So, um, you know, when we’re deciding that we’re going to let our Ho high, they’re greedy, had a let our dogs play with other dogs. I tried to pick and choose my dogs friends wisely so that the dog that she plays with is going to, um, allow her to be confident and to make good choices and to treat other dogs respectfully.
And, and, um, I can often teach my dog that value by lacking valuable lesson by picking the dog that she socializes with very, very carefully. Once we have chosen that new playmate, that dog that we’re going to work with, uh, to socialize with our dog, there’s a few steps that we take to make sure that the process goes smoothly.
Number one, have a line, a long line or a leash on your dog so that if [inaudible] on the other dog and on the other dog for sure, so that if something were to happen, you’re able to interrupt that behavior. Separate the dogs. Now getting into this, we’re hoping that you know enough about that dog at that that doesn’t happen, but you never know. You want to be able to, um, you know, interrupt anything that isn’t going that well.
Now this doesn’t mean that you’re holding your dog on leash. And this is one of the issues we have with, uh, you know, as you’re walking down the street with your dog on leash and you meet someone who’s also walking a dog, allowing those dogs to interact or meet on leash can be a really dangerous thing because sometimes those dogs feel like they can’t go anywhere. They can’t make the choice to leave if they feel like they need to.
So, uh, you know, have you gone to socialize with another dog while you’re walking down the street with them? Both on a tight leash is a bad idea to avoid that situation. Dog Bites start with dogs on leash. And the reason why is often as if a dog is pulling on a leash, their body language is very tense.
And even though the dog itself might not be feeling, you know, aggressive or anything like that, the dog that is interacting with it maybe can perceive the body language a bit differently because they see a dog that’s stiff and pulling and that can often, you know, just lend to their interactions being, you know, not really getting started off on the right par right off on the right foot.
So, right. Um, yeah, it’s very dangerous to let dogs meet on greet, meet on leash, especially if they don’t know each other. For sure.
And this is often why we hear people say, Oh yeah, my dog only barks at other, the other dogs when they’re on leash or you know, my dog is kind of aggressive when they’re on leash. A lot of these things lead up to that point. So we need to be really aware of that.
Now, one skill that we make sure our dogs have before we allow them to socialize with other dogs is a great response to name a or even a great recall, making sure that we can call our dogs away from this. A new situation could be super exciting, maybe a little worrisome.
We need to make sure that they have a 100% reliable recall on our hands before we will allow them to play or engage with other dogs. Yeah, because the problem is people will say, okay, well I won’t let my dog greet on leash. They dropped the lease, they let the dog go and then they call the dog back and the dog just ignores them and then they get to play with other dogs while they’re ignoring the handler or the owner and unfortunately that teaches you drug pretty quickly.
Then in that particular scenario, they don’t need to come when they’re called because they can self reward by continuing to play. So it is important to figure out. Speaking of play, there’s a small poodle doing a puppy burned around us right now. It’s very important that before you’re going to give your dog the luxury of having freedom that you feel confident that when you want to ask for their control back that you’ll be able to get that without having to have a big battle.
Another mistake that people will make is introducing their dog to a new dog in a confined space. So for example, your kitchen, although it might be the one of the largest kitchens around it may seem like a pretty confining space for your dog. So give your dog a nice wide open area to introduce them for the first time.
And that way they’ll feel a little bit less pressure that they need to have a good social interaction. It allows them, gives them some freedom to choose their response. Socializing your dog with other dogs doesn’t necessarily have to be restricted to playing as well. Um, often when we have a new puppy or we have a new dog with us, we will socialize them with our other dogs in a more controlled manner, like kicking them for a walk.
For example, they’re, you know, they’re close together. There may be walking, they’re under control. Or one of our favorite things to do and we have a young puppy, is to practice doing some basic obedient skills with the puppy while the other dogs are just sort of hanging around. So the puppy is learning to listen when the other dogs are around and even though they’re not playing, they’re still being socialized.
They’re still learning how to be respectful and how to act around the other dogs. And we try to sort of do those things first before we really let them get into the whole play thing. Because again, at the end of the day, we want the dog to be more bonded and listened to listening to us than, than we do, you know, forgetting who we are and playing with other dogs, playing with other dogs is not what we’re against.
It’s what do we have from the dog or what can we get from the dog first before using that particular resource, which is a ton of fun for dogs. Um, as more of a reward for the fact that we have great control first. Here’s the other great part about that is that you’re using these other dogs as a bit of a distraction.
So you’re actually making that skill, whether it’s a sit or a walking, unleash, whatever. It is stronger because it forces your dog to make that choice to check in with you or to be distracted by the other dog. So I mean that’s a double whammy. If you can do some of that, some of that controlling those control exercises, a little bit of obedience training with that other dog around in a non pressure situation that can really, you know, make great leaps and bounds for your relationship with your dog. I think that that’s one of the most beneficial thing of going to a dog cost is as well.
Especially our dog classes. We do, you know, some dog to dog socialization when the puppies are very, very small and it’s extremely monitored. But once we get into, you know, the six month and older range, um, the socialization that the dog gets is more controlled. So they might be practicing their sit, stay beside another dog that’s also doing the same thing. Or maybe one dogs practicing some walking around other dogs that are practicing as sit, stay or a down stay.
So they’re learning how to listen around other dogs. And, um, you know, a lot of people say, oh my dog so well trained or my dog listens so well, but they’re in the backyard all by themselves or they’re in the kitchen while they’re cutting food for dinner. And of course the Donna’s going to be perfect.
What’s really cool is when you get to the point where your dog can learn to listen really well, uh, do you when there’s other dogs around, because in my opinion, that’s one of the hardest distractions there are. Absolutely. And I think it really reinforces the fact that we don’t disagree with allowing your dogs to play with or socialize and interact with other dogs, but you, we insist that you have expectations for them because they deserve that because you will have expectations of them in other scenarios and you need to be consistent about those.
So really keep that in mind. You’re looking for some exercises to get more control of your dog. Then make sure you click that card right there. If this is your first time on the channel, make sure you hit that subscribe button. We’ve published new videos every single week up. You’d have a well behaved four legged family member. On that note, I’m Ken. I’m Kale. I be training.