I want my dog to be a well socialized dog!
The word we talk about so much, SOCIALIZATION. By definition, socializing someone means developing skills so that this individual can live among others respecting the acceptable limits for a given society. That is, a dog with good social skills is one that knows how to behave in an environment showing acceptable behaviors for that specific environment.
Let's try to clarify this a little better. We all agree that an aggressive dog that tries to bite everyone around him is not a sociable dog, right? Excellent!
What about a dog that won't sit still for a moment? A dog that barks nonstop when sees anybody? A dog that jumps on others? A dog that whines non-stop looking for attention? A dog that when it sees another dog in the street, pulls on the leash trying desperately to approach the other dog. Have you ever heard somebody saying, “My dog is too social!” Well, if your dog is “too social”, he is not social at all.
A dog without brakes, or dogs without impulse control, can also be considered unsociable dogs. What may seem sociable to you may not be sociable to someone else. If someone is walking a dog in the neighborhood and you simply let your dog approach them without even being invited (because he is too sociable), trust me, not only your dog it’s not being social, but your attitude is also not being the politest.
At the hospital where I work, so many times I see people walking their dogs through the lobby on their long leashes and letting their dogs get close to the other dogs who are just standing there waiting for their appointment. Wrong! First, because your dog could end up being bitten (and believe me, it will be your fault and not the fault of the dog who bit him). And second, you are constantly reinforcing a very simple behavior, EVERY TIME YOUR DOG SEES ANOTHER DOG, HE PULLS YOU, WHINES, BARKS AND THEM YOU LET HIM GET CLOSE TO THE OTHER DOGS.
A socialized dog is also an educated dog. A dog that knows when to play, when to run, when is allowed to smell someone's butt. A dog that knows when to sit waiting for the owner to authorize him to go and investigate what's around him.
Always remember that what may be polite and normal for you may be very impolite and an invasion of private space for someone else.
Marco Magiolo is a bestselling author, trainer, and speaker. Connect with Marco on social media and subscribe to future newsletters and updates.