The TRUTH about puppy/dog socialization!!!
I would say this will be an unpopular blog post. But whats new.
So, you just got your new puppy or new dog home. It may be your next competition dog, or just a household pet. The breeder, pet store and social media keeps screaming “You must socialize socialize socialize!" But what does that mean? Well, for most uneducated people, it means taking your dog to puppy kindergarten and letting it play with other dogs. Or taking it out in public to meet and greet other dogs. That is what today's society wants us to believe is the right thing to do. All dogs must LOVE each other. Even having it meet people and love anything and everything. We try to force it. Guess what? That's not how it works. Our society believes dogs should be accepting of every dog and human. But why is that? When us as humans don’t need to like and interact with every person we meet, it seems a bit illogical. The reality is, we as humans started to interact with dogs as a means of having dogs assist us, i.e helping us hunt and be guardians of flocks. In layman’s terms, we domesticated dogs to interact with us NOT be entertainment for other dogs. It almost impossible to be in public with one of my dogs nowadays without someone else with a dog, usually staring at my dog, asking “is it ok for my dog to say hi to your dog?" For the life of me, i am not sure why this is so important for people.
Like it or not, dogs are pack animals. A pack consists of a hierarchy. Don’t believe what modern day dog evangelists and social media are cramming down your throat. When dogs meet they are not saying “Hi I would love to meet and interact with you.” They are trying to establish a pecking order, immediately. And when they come face to face it is not “look they love each other!” They are basically trying to establish order. You have no idea how many times I have seen this happen, only to be asked to help break up a dog fight 20 seconds later. Dogs are masters of body language. Thats how they speak to each other. Many times dogs become reactive or aggressive when they are forced to interact with another dog or dogs, and one dog scares or tries to dominate the other. Then the dog learns that dogs can be scary. Yes, they learn things from each other. Rarely good things. Usually they learn to be scared of dogs, or they become infatuated with dogs. Both things are incompatible with teaching dogs to pay attention to the owner. Honestly, by not having your puppy or dog constantly interacting or forcing them to interact with other dogs teaches the dog to be neutral. To ignore other dogs. It teaches them dogs are not important in their life. Interaction with the human is. I know it is sometimes hard to understand. When I have a young puppy I let them interact once or twice with one of my older dogs (who is neutral and not very interested in other dogs). This teaches the puppy that dogs are boring, and not to be obsessed or scared. Other than that, my dogs do not interact. They grow up being perfectly neutral to other dogs, which is what I want. Most dog reactivity is a learned behavior which is learned from other dogs. As i said before, I am pretty sure this will be an unpopular blog post for many, but nowadays on social media, one can write a post saying the sky is blue and the earth is round….and start an international incident.