The Unpopular Truth About Socializing Your Dog..

In this video, I'll talk about how to socialize your dog with other dogs. And the pitfalls that some people experience when they rush this process.

We’ve built parks specifically to facilitate dog play. There is a booming industry in Doggie Daycares and Cage-free Boarding facilities. I can’t walk down the street with my dogs anymore without having to address other people wanting their dogs to play with mine. Half the time, the human is so convinced that my dogs will be their dog’s next play thing, that the approaching dog is off-leash and has no semblance of a recall. More and more, I’m met with dirty looks or snotty comments when I try to politely decline the interaction.

If we applied these same standards to humans, we would be expected to enthusiastically greet every person who ever crossed our paths. We would be in a constant state of high-arousal from being in a social gathering all day long. Imagine being thrown into a party where you don’t know anyone, but you’re expected to run and enjoy the scene — sometimes every day. Would you be happy if you had to hug or even shake hands with every stranger you come across? What happens if or when you DON’T want to say hi, play or interact? Are you afforded the luxury of saying, ‘no thank you, not today?’

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43 Comments on “The Unpopular Truth About Socializing Your Dog..”

  1. Yes poor dogs don’t get to claim personal space without a confrontation. My dog just doesn’t like other dogs. He tolerates them fine until they get in his face. Owners just assume because he is out and about with me that their off leash dog can just approach mine without asking me. Irritating.

    1. @Nagy Levi where i live all dogs must be kept on leash unless in a designated off-leash dog park with warning signs posted. Im so glad for that. If you let your dog run up to mine where I live you could get a hefty fine for having them off leash. And if a dog on leash attacked yours while it was off leash you would be held legally and financially responsible for anything that happened between the two dogs. It’s crazy to me that not all states and countries have leash laws.

    2. In my experience, I haven’t been able to change how the world behaves I can only change what I do. Since my dog is small I can just pick him up and walk the other way. I’m not sure what you’d do if your dog is bigger, I guess you could body block the opponent dog and turn your back to them.

  2. Are you working with your puppy on socialization? Before you ever allow your dog to greet another dog you need to make sure you’ve got a reliable response to name. Here’s a link to a video where we teach a puppy to have a reliable response to their name:
    Happy Training! ~Ken

  3. What I found works pretty well if you do it consistently is don’t walk your dog in a park when you 1st get out of your car. Find the closest bench and sit there for 10 to 15 minutes. When other dogs and people walk by, try to restrain your dog from going towards them. Let other dog walkers be aware that your dog is in training, And to please keep walking. Let them sniff the ground sniff the air And get that out of their system. After a while the dog will realize that they’re going on a walk and everything else will be a minor distraction.

  4. My wife and I have watched over 50 plus videos on YouTube on better training our dog and not one of them have discussed all of these important tips you have put in this video. We can’t thank you enough for making something I’m shocked and surprised no one else has put out that we have seen. Everyone talks about interacting your dogs but not one of them have discussed the important tools you both have discussed. It definitely has given my wife and I a better understanding on what to do and what not to do at parks. We have a Goldendoodle that 5 months old and is really mouthy but every day he’s been getting better. last week we were walking our dogs on a short leash and another owner had his dog come up to our pop and he nipped at the other dog, the owner looked at us like we were idiots and made us feel like we were irresponsible dog owners however watching this video again as I stated his giving me a way better understanding on what actually happened at that moment in time. Thank you thank you thank you so much and I’m so grateful I found this video keep up the great work and as dog owners we will do the same

    1. Well your attitude is not to blame, neither your dog’s. He surely just nipped to express that the other dog coming to him like that was rude and innapropriate. And he was right!

    2. @Skoll4295 yeah I agree in a way. To be honest some dog owners really don’t respect other dog owners and they let their dogs just run up to yours. I think that’s impolite and can be dangerous. I can’t change what other people do but I don’t just let my dog confront random dogs on the street just like I wouldn’t confront random people on the street myself. Especially in these times. Luckily most people have common sense though.

  5. This is truly one of the best videos I’ve watched – well spoken, straight to the point (without any annoying fluff) and very clear instruction. Thank you 🙂

  6. I think socialization should be about teaching your dog how to act around other animals and people, not being playmates with every other dog out there.

  7. Oh man, when I tell people they can’t touch my dog, they act all offended. Then say something like “but you shouldn’t bring your dog out if we can’t touch her”

    My dog is NOT public property. And while I expect her to behave around other people, the truth is that she does NOT like people. And I’m not going to force her to interact with people she doesn’t like. I’m going to let her if she’s behaving because I want her to learn that she can trust people, but I’m not going to force her.

    1. The general public have no zero dog behavoir knowlege. I train for a living and I have lost track of the amount of people who do not respect boundaries….with dogs and people. You are polite. I have a vest on my dog that reads “I DARE YOU” and if they persist, I publicly shame them with colorful language.

    2. @Steve I love it when millennials say OK Boomer, thinking it makes them look smart, when really it’s the most tired, worn out phrase in history, and makes them look like nothing more than a parrot, repeating the same old crap, over and over. A bit like Bart Simpson’s “I didn’t do it” line

    1. Do a lot of research. Your stress will be picked up by your pup! Try to go into it with a sense of fun. Being alert and aware is positive. Stress, not good for your your dog. Good luck and have fun!

  8. I only bring my dogs to the dog park when it’s empty so they can run around together but end up leaving when other dogs come in. I’m not intentionally trying to shut my dogs away from other dogs but an unknown dog & dog owner could bring disaster. I do bring them to doggie daycare but that’s only because I work there part time and know the personality of my dogs and the dogs they are interacting with.

  9. As someone who frequented dog parks, I really appreciated how my little girl listened. Yes, she played and explored, but I always had complete control of her with vocal commands that a lot of pet parents I’ve known are severely lacking

  10. I have social anxiety and have felt really bad about not always letting my dog greet other dogs we meet on our walks so this actually made me feel pretty good lol (my dog isn’t even that interested in other dogs I’ve just thought that it’s a thing I SHOULD do)

  11. This is great. We just got a puppy but have fostered dogs for years. We live in a city and we always tell me people that our dogs don’t meet dogs on leash. I always thought I was being paranoid but it never felt right to have to restricted/restrained stranger dogs meet one another on the street. Thanks for this. We also need work more on recall!!! Will start that tomorrow.

  12. My dog has the *opposite* problem! He pulls and searches out other dogs and wants to meet almost every person / dog he passes on the street. *I do not* ! I have not renforced this behaviour. He is an 8 month old puppy and I try to limit his play time and want him responsive to me when he is out and I will not let him free in an unfenced area *even if* everybody else is telling me to let him off leash. His call back is almost non-responsive as he is too much into the game. ( By the way, he is on a long line which I control accordingly)
    Therefore, I don’t have a problem getting him to be sociable but the opposite. Can you do a video on that?

  13. My dog has no desire to interact with other dogs. He isn’t aggressive at all. He just wants to pretend other dogs don’t exist. He just want’s them to stay away. He is 12 now. He was fine with his older brother, but that’s it.

  14. This is such an eye-opening video, thank you for being honest about socialization and making it known that it’s okay to not introduce your dog to every dog that walks past. The biggest struggle is telling other dog owners that I don’t want my dog to meet theirs on leash, and then getting backlash about how I should be socializing her more. This was very helpful!!

  15. This is how I feel about socialization and this is why I don’t take my dog to dog parks. But, learning from you on the best ways to meet other dogs. Thanks!

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