Many families acquire a new puppy or dog in the holidays.
Or you’ve just found the time to start searching where to do that “thing” they keep talking about – “socialising.”
Socialising is VERY important.
HOWEVER! Most owners are directed toward Puppy Schools and Dog Schools to socialise their dogs (by so-called “experts!”).
This is generally the worst way to go!
I have rehabilitated many thousands of dogs who had fear, aggression and other behavioral problems – almost all of them had attended some kind of “Puppy School” or group situation.
The problems have become so commonplace that there was no choice but to beg people not to go to Puppy School – especially the “free for all” type that let young dogs run wild and pile into each other.
Think of it like this – you could walk your dog for three hours every single day and never meet more than probably two dogs up close.
A Puppy School throws the poor things in amongst anything up 10 to 15 dogs – usually in a small space – from which at least a few emerge petrified of other dogs. Fear manifests sooner or later as aggression in some dogs. Other confident dogs simply yank your arm off to get to another dog to sit on their heads – often referred to by those in “charge” as being friendly – because this was the first learnt behavior from these crazy group situations.
Don’t do it!
The same applies for dog schools that can have dozens of dogs in each other’s face – this is a recipe for possibly lifelong disaster for SOME of those dogs. The longer they go, the worse they get.
(Not to mention it’s usually too hot, too cold and wet, too dark – and someone is often yelling at you!).
Whilst the trainers there almost ALWAYS will disagree, they hardly ever see the dogs that were adversely affected – as they are no longer coming!
Socialising should be done with dogs YOU choose in situations YOU control, with one or two dogs. A few positive experiences will outweigh a thousand experiences of which just a few were negative.
Imagine having a great time week after week at the footy or a friend’s place and then one week someone clouts you – that experience will affect you far more and remain foremost in your thoughts.
Most dogs in a group or class have at least one or two negative experiences. It’s not worth the risk!
Don’t choose a “super-friendly” dog to mix with either, especially if your dog is shy. Whilst it MIGHT go OK, the chances are another dog jumping on yours will scare the wits out of them.
Ever met someone for the first time and they hug you and kiss you and get way too touchy feely – especially if it’s your hairy Aunt? That’s how your dog might feel.
You wouldn’t throw your child into a free for all at playgroups and laugh at five other kids pounding them in the corner – so don’t do it to your dog!
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