Don't let you dog be the playground bully... say 'No' to the crappy stuff
What comes to mind for most folks when they hear the words ‘socializing dogs’ is a mosh of puppies going hog wild on each other, dogs racing around with full on contact play, or some kind of jujitsu wrestling around on the floor accompanied by throaty growls and high pitched squeals. When in actual fact, those intense encounters are not constructive socializing experiences. Those encounters are dogs being allowed to behave like jerks. Imagine if every new person you met got real close and in your face, punched you in the arm and started trying to playing full contact football with you... rude?! Pushy?! Inappropriate?! Yup... all of the above. It’s no different for dogs. A more meaningful definition of socializing is dogs existing around each other while giving their BEST polite behaviour. And if they can’t control their impulses and choose to act like over excited pushy jerks, then we as owners and handlers MUST step in and hold our dogs accountable for giving us polite manners and behaviour.
I was watching some little kids playing at the park and a little boy was trying to play with a little girl by smacking her in the face to get her attention (now with dogs this looks like unwanted body slamming, jumping on one another, grabbing ears or at legs) and both parents were pretty quick to intervene and stop that toxic interaction . The little boy was held accountable for hitting because he knew better and the little girl felt safe because her parent was advocating for her. We are so quick to stop this kind of nonsense with our kids but dogs are getting away with it to the point of starting fights, harming one another and even directing crappy behaviour towards people. Somewhere along the line it has become the social norm to let dogs do whatever they want, make decisions on their own, and give them complete freedom and what I’m seeing as a result is a lot of anxiety, stress, reactivity, aggression, and dogs with crappy entitled bratty attitudes who don’t take the ‘buzz off’ cue when their attention is unwanted. And this ridiculous new social norm isn’t because people aren’t intelligent or lack the skills or motivation... it’s because they are being shamed, judged and even harassed harshly for saying ‘No’ to their dogs poor choices/bad behaviour/bratty attitude/etc. Let’s turn the tide on that one guys, we are smart people and our dogs are smart too... and they can absolutely give us their best in all situations if we set that expectation and always hold them accountable for giving it. You’re in the drivers seat and you totally got this! ❤️