A Great Way To Socialize Your Dog
My dog needs a boyfriend, or a girlfriend…I really don’t care! NO I am not looking to breed her, I am looking for some quality social interaction for her.
She is a bundle of energy and the older I get the more often I reconsider my affinity for living with such difficult breeds and dogs! NAH, I still love my difficult dogs, I just have to reconnect with the ways of how to get them the resources they need and those I need to stay sane!
I recently moved from the warmth of GA to the cold of VA and in doing so I also left my friends and those I saw as family behind. I had a prominent career training dogs, some exotics, and pet sitting. My days were full of a plethora of other dogs, all shapes, sizes, ages and personalities, and most were at my disposal for dropping in for fun. This gave me a unique ability to socialize my dogs with other dogs that I knew and could easily control!
I do not have this infrastructure in Virginia, yet! As much as I try building my career in a tiny town (no Wal-mart for 30 miles!!) in winter it is difficult and my puppy is beginning to reach adulthood. Pups under 6 months are much easier to socialize than those over 6 months, and she is going on 9 months now. She is also a breed known for its propensity toward dog aggression, so the bricks are stacked against me!
I am forced to face life and training as a regular “non-dog trainer” person (the horror)! So I brainstormed what to do:
I could take her to doggy day care, but I am not familiar with the ones in my area
I could try to find a dog park, but it’s cold and they have their draw backs too
Or, I could run a “personal” add on Craigslist
I did the latter. “Gorgeous, 9 month old pup seeks friendship, play and relationship with a like minded, wild hearted dog of similar abilities! Enjoys walks, hikes, geocaching and dips in the lake”
I have also found it difficult to find human conversations outside of my family here in Virginia, so the idea of finding a friend who is also a dog lover was very appealing to me.
I know what you are thinking…isn’t that dangerous? I suppose it could be, but I don’t divulge my address or phone number until I have gotten to know the person. I also made a female owners only stipulation so I am not meeting random men, with possible “other” intentions and I take my fiancée with me the first few times to make sure we are comfortable. Be sure to always leave a note as to whom you are with and where you went not only as a safety feature for whom you are with but also because sometimes hikers get lost! I also make sure to check vaccination history just like a boarding kennel would before any interaction takes place.
I control the environment by picking a walking spot and I make sure dogs meet on a leash and enjoy each other’s company before any play time takes place! I only want my young dogs mingling with well behaved, social dogs!
Not all dogs like the company of other dogs, and many people misunderstand this! If you have a dog that shows aggression, or severe anxiety chances are they do not desire the bond or relationship of other dogs!
But, some dogs love to interact with other dogs and can play successfully for hours together! Dog on dog play can be some of the most physical exercise your dog can get! I love an exhausted dog! A tired dog is a good dog, and it requires little effort from me on days I am not feeling like taking her for a run!
Safety first! Know the risks and make sure you are as safe as possible, but if you want some interaction for you and your dog, run an add and see if there is someone else in your area who wants to form a friendship and get together with you and your dog!
I am grateful for the friendships I have made and my pup is enjoying playing with others!
I have been a professional dog trainer and pet sitter for over 20 years. I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, through the international Certification Counsel of Professional Dog Trainers. I have trained and worked with police, Schutzhund and personal protection dogs. I trained Assistance Dogs in a men’s prison and ran my own nonprofit organization to take adult dogs from shelters and to train them to assist children and adults with disabilities, at no charge to my clients. My nonprofit organization and I were nominated for several awards of merit and even made the front page of the Denver Post. I was a veterinary technician for many years, where I learned about all aspects of health and preventative medicine. I have trained and worked with exotic animals and cheetahs. I introduced a temperament testing program in my local shelter and sat on the board of directors. I volunteered with my dog “Mr. Snitch” and helped local children learn to read. I have attained obedience titles and several blue ribbons. I am constantly in search of ways to continue my education and excellence when it comes to animals, their behavior and their health.