Ever wonder where the best place to socialize your dog is? Well we've been training dogs for almost a decade and we've decided to share our sacred list of the best places to socialize a puppy or dog.
Socializing a puppy is all about building confidence, stimulating your dog's brain, and teaching your dog that the world is a safe and a fun place.
There are many places you could socialize your puppy but, these are just a few we recommend to our dog training clients and it's the same guideline we follow with our own puppies.
1 ) Other people’s neighborhoods other than your own. Take a stroll through someone’s friendly neighborhood with your dog. Stay to yourself to allow your dog a chance to get to know the place before meeting anyone.
2) Other people’s houses (with out dogs at first) To do this, you would go to the person’s home and just stay on the outside. Have them come out without their dogs. Do this for as long as it takes for your dog to be comfortable here. Even if you think your dog is passive and submissive and wouldn’t do anything to the other dog doesn’t mean you should rush it or force it. When you do things like rushing and forcing, you cause your dog to shut down. Shutting down at someone else’s house can mean a fight. This could turn into a lawsuit quick. Trust us, we deal with cases like that on a daily basis and have for about a decade.
3) Other people’s houses (with dogs) Now that your dog is comfortable, have them bring one dog out at a time on a long 30 foot leash. How you hold the leash is important. You have to figure out the best way in your situation. You want your dog to be on leash when meeting another dog for the first time so that you can have a chance to separate the dogs without touching the dogs in case things go bad.
4) (Advanced)Pet store: Go in the back of the cat food isle - This is the least likely place you will find a dog in your pet store and most people do not bring their cats to the pet store because of dogs so it is a good place to take your dog to train, work on behaviors, experience the store if they are too fearful to be there, etc. If your dog is a super confident dog and isn’t a problem then walk through your pet store not allowing your dog to go up to other dogs. That is the last place you want something bad to happen.
5) Empty Church parking lots - Let's face it, you're not going to pull into a church parking lot and find a bunch of rowdy teThese are usually full of very nice people and could be a great place to socialize your puppy with people of all ages and sizes! Your church may even let the puppy come in! How cool would that be???
6) The back of the Walmart parking lot is usually empty.This is a great place to build positive confidence with being out in public. When you are out in a place like this, do not expect a lot from your dog.
7) (Advanced) Boardwalks are a great place to socialize your dog. Start away from the crowded places first. Build your dog’s confidence up then move closer and closer to the action once every four weeks. Always take it slow. If you live near a dog-friendly boardwalk then you will know what I mean by this.
Leash Pro Tip: Don’t hold tight on your dog’s leash. This will cause your dog to pull harder and it can cause another dog to think your dog is pulling to get to them in an aggressive way. It can also teach your dog that pulling is how the walk happens. It's best to not walk around when socializing your new dog. You really just want to get a 30' leash and sit there and allow your dog the amount of leash that is safe and comfortable to you and your dog.
Multi-dog Pro Tip: Start walking your dogs one at a time, at first. Do not use other dogs as a confidence booster for your dog while going out in public. The best thing is to start out by taking your dog out solo. No other dogs. Build your dog’s confidence in public first then add another dog to the walk. Want to learn more about why you shouldn't walk multiple dogs at once? Check out this blog > Why You Shouldn't Walk Your Dog In Groups (coming soon)