Socialization is the difference between classifying your dog with Lassy and Rin Tin Tin or Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dumb. You still love those dumb dogs, but you don’t really want to go anywhere in public with them.
What is the first hasty generalization that comes to mind when you hear that someone is home schooled? Of course there are always exceptions, but the first thing that comes to my mind is socially awkward. When people have limited exposure to social settings, they are a bit clueless as to how to behave in public. Your dog is the same way. If you never take him or her out of the house, he or she will have no clue how to behave when it gets there. Exposure is the key to success! Take them as many places as you can. Dog parks, doggie day care, walking trails, pet stores, and even just choosing new neighborhoods to walk through can all be helpful in teaching your dog what to do while you’re out.
Many dog owners don’t like to take their dogs with them because their dog has a tendency to embarrass them. Dogs can learn manners. They can be taught to sit and shake people’s hands instead of jumping on them. The less friendly dogs can be taught that you don’t need them to protect you. Even if these dogs never like other people or dogs, they don’t need to get aggressive. These are social problems that I will address in more detail in another post. The point of this post is to get them out there anyway. If you have a jumping dog, bring a water bottle or something else that will deter the jumps and keep it on a short leash. If your dog is aggressive, get a muzzle, but still get them out there to meet other people and dogs.
The more you get out there, the easier it will get. When things are going well, don’t forget to reward your dog for doing a good job. If he or she is being polite reward him or her with treats or praise or play time with toys. That way they will do that behavior more often.
- Get out in public with your dog – don’t have a “homeschooled” dog.
- Don’t be embarrassed by bad behavior, there are simple solutions for most issues.
- Reward good behavior in public so that it happens more often.