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  • Richard Chan

Friendly dog = well socialized dog?

Many people have been misinformed to believe that being "friendly" is the goal of socialization.

They also mistakenly believe that being "friendly" means it is okay to jump, pull, bark... they think "friendliness" is a valid excuse for being overly aroused and out of control.

A well socialized dog should be able to act very calm around other dogs.

A well socialized dog should not have any problem ignoring another dog and just walk by without any lunging, pulling, growling, barking, gagging,...etc.

A well trained dog should pay attention to the owner and listen, she should not pull, drag, charge at any dog/people she sees on the walk.

Being "friendly" is no excuse for poor manner.

Being "friendly" is not my goal of socialization.

I am not against playing, but there has to be a balance.

If a puppy only has highly aroused play experience with other dogs, she will naturally go into highly aroused mental state whenever she sees another dog because that is what she has been taught since day 1.

That is the problem with a lot of puppy "socialization" where puppies only play and play and play. Once they stop playing, they are taken away.

Often they are also given lots of treats and pet from human during this "puppy socialization" experience as well. They quickly learn that seeing people and dogs are super exciting and it is very rewarding to ignore their owners and just run towards these dogs and strangers and do whatever they want.

This creates a very hyperactive puppy who becomes very reactive on the walk and is completely tuned out and pays no attention to the owner.

That is clearly not what we want our puppy to become.

When l socialize a puppy, l teach the puppy to pay attention to me and ignore other dogs and people.

I am not telling them to avoid these dogs and people because they are bad, l am merely conveying the concept of engagement which tells them l am more fun, more interesting, and l deserve their full attention.

I teach them to choose me over other random people and dogs. They will not become aggressive or fearful of these people or dogs, they just know that these people and dogs are not a big deal.

They will not pay much attention to things that are irrelevant (which is how they will view these people and dogs). They will pay attention to what is relevant, which is their owners.

They will learn to focus on the owners and trust us. They will know us as their leaders, their rock!

When they are unsure, they know we are here for them. They will not be afraid and they will not try to defend themselves as they know we will protect them and everything is going to be awesome when they place their trust in us.

We teach dogs not to always follow their impulse but think about what they should do and look to us for direction and guidance when they are unsure. We teach them to respect us and know when and how to wait for our permission.

We do not encourage out of control impulsive behaviour and excuse it with "friendliness". (E.g. He jumps just because he really like you, he pulls because he really wants to sniff that dog...).

We teach dogs impulse control and self discipline at a young age. We instil the concept of respect in them early on.

When a dog is well behaved, she will be well liked, and can be included extensively into our life so everyone can have a great time with this dog.

That is, in my opinion, what socialization is all about.

That is why l train engagement and impulse control early on.

I am looking to raise a well behaved, confident, and engaged dog with great self control and discipline who is strong enough to handle and cope with all sorts of real world situations.


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