Dog Socializing Tips

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At Abracadabra, we have heard many of you are concerned about socializing their puppies during this difficult time, and we would like to let you know that despite being requested to remain distant from others, it is possible to continue training and teaching your dog to exist around other people and dogs.

When taking a walk through the park, social distancing is actually an ideal set up for training and socializing your dogs. Being distant from other people gives you the ability to teach your dog to focus on you, or the command at hand. Having other people or dogs in proximity without interacting helps build a positive association without interaction. Your dog doesn’t need to, and shouldn’t, greet every single person and dog they can, especially as puppies.

A very common socializing mistake is that they need to meet or interact with as many friendly people and friendly dogs as possible. We focus so much on this interaction that we forget there are many times interacting shouldn’t be done, and you need your dog to focus on you, not greet someone. Unfortunately, these repeat interactions will result in confusion and leash reactivity when being told “no” later on. This can lead to over arousal on leash, possibly making your dog appear aggressive and start fights when really he’s just so excited he doesn’t know how to control himself.

To teach your dog to control himself, focus on you and remain calm. Work on commands with people and dogs in sight, but without interaction, and your dog will continue to build positive associations with these actions. This doesn’t mean your dog is never allowed to interact with other dogs or people, just do so safely and sparingly. If you aren’t leaving your home, you can train your dog using the “place” command while you play desensitization noise from YouTube videos, such as this one. Start at a low volume at first and work your way up or use a vacuum started off at a distance and gradually moving closer.

We hope you have found this information helpful. If you have any comments or questions, reach out to us on Facebook. For more helpful dog behavior tips, check out more blog articles from our dog trainer, Sha, here.