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Society and Dogs

#dogsocialization #dogtraining #dogsinpublic #dogmanners #donotpet #pettingdogs #pets #dogfriendly #shakopeemn #minnesota #twincities #minnesotadogs


We live in a dog friendly society - too friendly sometimes.

What do I mean by this?


Our society has adopted this concept that every dog should be everyone's (dog and human) friend. There are a few problems with this idea.


Many dogs are bred to be loyal to one person. Especially when you get into the herding groups and protection dogs. Just because a dog doesn't like you, doesn't mean you have to take it personally. Sometimes it's in their genetic make up.


Our society has this backwards concept that if I see a dog in public, it must be nice. No. That person has just worked very hard to get that dog to behave well in public - many times they accomplish this by NOT allowing their dogs to be pet by everyone.


Do you like everyone you meet? Would you take it a step further and go up and put your hands in their face and give them a hug? That's essentially what we force upon our dogs. There are very few dogs that love everyone and everything. Most dogs fit into a category of being "Dog Selective" or "Human Selective."


If a dog is fearful and you force interactions, it can cause the dog to become aggressive because it has no where to run. Our society is good at that too.


If you have a puppy that loves people and other dogs, do not let it run up to people and other dogs. For one, that is rude. That person or other dog may not like your dog. "It's ok he's friendly." Famous last words. Don't be that person. If you want your puppy or dog to care about you, make you what matters. In public on a leash is not a good place for socialization unless you have a dog that is extremely well trained already.


When the typical person lets their dogs meet other dogs, it usually looks like dogs pulling towards each other. Tight leashes. Straight at each other. Face to face greeting first. That is not an appropriate greeting from a dog and causes many dogs to be fearful and lash out. Nose to butt is more appropriate. The circle sniff. For my clients, I recommend they take their dogs on a walk together first, get them over the excitement of the other dog. Then when they are more calm, let them greet one another. Keep leashes loose and encourage butt sniffing instead of face to face conflict. If it naturally goes to the face and the dogs are fine with it, that's ok, but don't start there and don't start with a tight leash.


Dogs can smell you from a mile away. You don't need to shove your hand at them to smell it. That's a good way to get bit. Dogs, especially fearful dogs, are very conscious about their space. Instead, I recommend just ignoring the dog. If the dog wants to greet you, they will greet you happily with a loose body, sniff you, etc... It shows that the dog can trust you if you don't try to interact with it. THEN if the dog seems chill, ask the owner if it's ok to pet.


As a trainer, I encourage my clients to join my group classes as my second level of training. The goal is that we teach dogs to be good members of society by teaching them to be confident and comfortable in public and to ignore people and other dogs. Make it non eventful to see other dogs or people. It's possible!!! I've done it with many dogs!



Don't feel bad if your dog doesn't like people or other dogs, or is dog selective. This is more normal than a dog that loves all things! Some dogs grow tired of other dogs as they get older too or they just want dog friends with a certain energy. This is NORMAL! I'm happy to help you if you are struggling or if you need encouragement. Dogs are not people - and we as a society need to quit throwing such huge expectations on them. We actually don't even treat them like people. We treat them like a fuzzy pillow we can just hug or touch any time we want to. We have to remember that they are an apex predator. They have feelings. They have teeth. They are intelligent animals deserving of our respect.


~Johanna

Follow Me K9 Training



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