View Full Version : Dog socialization... maybe it's just me!

6th June 2012, 06:06 PM
Ok so I apologize for this rant... but am I the only person who thinks that a huge number of dog owners don't care enough about their dog's social lives?

Lily and I are lucky to live right by Hamstead Heath and we take Tails there every day, either to run in the forest or go to the little 'dog park' area. Tails has made a few friends there and meeting and playing with other dogs is the highlight of his day.

I can't help feel though that so many people just don't think it's important for their dogs to spend time making friends and playing. So many people would rather walk laps of the park with the dog following behind then spend a couple of minutes letting the dogs play together. Maybe this is the cold 'London culture'? Tails is always so sad that his friends can only ever spend 10 seconds hanging out with him before they have to walk off with their owners. I know some people have to go to work and can only spend a few minutes in the park in the morning but... I just think letting dogs play together is such a worthy activity.

Sorry, rant over. This has been bugging me for a few weeks now and I had to get it off my chest!

6th June 2012, 06:40 PM
Funny I have been known to rant around too so I hope you feel better now lol. I haven't had that problem too much. Fletcher is a puppy and a rare cavalier where I live I guess (no a single person out walking in the neighborhood has known what breed he is) people approach me about him almost everyday. As far as meeting other dogs??? I have some "oh no is this safe" issues mostly if the dog is bigger...however if the owner is like she/he is good meeting new dogs then going slowly.... Fletcher and I met a super friendly playful big mixed breed dog just this weekend. I don't know what's wrong with people sometimes. I have stopped trying to figure out people a long time ago.

By the way "London culture" sounds like fun :cool: My daughter is "dying" to visit London. Teenagers!


6th June 2012, 07:07 PM
I get confused by this as well. We take Sonny on 2-3 walks a day and every time I try to time it when I see other dogs out and about in our neighborhood. There are LOTS of people that have dogs in our neighborhood, so it is pretty easy; however I have noticed that more often than not people cross to the other side of the street when they see another dog coming. Don't get me wrong there are some people that let there dogs sniff and say hello to Sonny, but I am always surprised at how many people avoid their dog having contact with other dogs. I guess it makes sense if their dog isn't friendly and I am grateful if they know that their dog would snap at Sonny or something, but it seems like this happens a lot on our walks. Everyone in our neighborhood loves Sonny and says to hi to him. In fact more people know Sonny's name and yell out hello to him than they know mine or my husbands name. LOL But I sometimes wish more dogs were allowed to say hello to him. He always seems so disappointed when a dog is coming our way and then crosses to the other side of the street without being able to say hello.

6th June 2012, 07:14 PM
I was advised when I got Jazz that socialisation was crucial for her development. In fact our trainer (also our vet nurse) advised that as a puppy she should meet @ 5 different dogs a day! I struggled to achieve this but generally she met at least one or 2 a day and I have to say at 5 months she is simply great with other dogs. If i'm not sure of a dog (or it's owner) then I pop Jazz back on her lead and when i get closer I will ask if their dog is tollerant of puppies. I don't mind the odd growl because Jazz needs to learn her manners and realise not every dog is friendly! I get very nervous around certain dogs, particularly staffies as they can be unpredictable but I try hard not to let Jazz feel any "fear" from me.

I do find though that some owners aren't keen to be sociable - even when their dogs want to which is a shame - but Southern England can be like that I guess....!

6th June 2012, 11:21 PM
Same in the midlands I'm afraid! Although Charlie is such a little pester pants that other dogs get irritable! Although saying that when we were having a day out on Monday, the only owners that let Charlie be sociable were 2 other cavalier owners.

I let charlie go towards one owner and she quickly said (about her dog) "she doesn't like puppies" and turned and walked off :( poor Charlie's little face!

I used to be one of the owners that had to cross over with Harry as he was scared of other dogs and could be a little snappy if they got too much for him.

6th June 2012, 11:44 PM
Awe..that is sad.
Wish it was different for those of you dealing w/ rudeness... or people that don't want to let their dogs play awhile together ! Guess I don't understand their reasoning? :confused:

Where I live ( much like what Melissa said) when out on walks...people will stop and ask what kind of dog Wrigley is.
Cavaliers seem to be rare in the United States. At least where we live..you just don't see many.

We also have huge fenced in dog parks where owners bring their dogs to socialize. We all sit around on benches while the dogs play. The one in our city is even divided..where dogs under 30 lbs. have their area..and those larger have their own as well. It is really nice. I tend to never meet a stranger though ( as you probably noticed... I like to talk..lol..)
..so starting a conversation comes easy. Some people are just more private..and stay to themselves....but most owners are there not only for the dogs..but to chat w/ other owners too.

6th June 2012, 11:47 PM
P.S.... Your rant didn't bother me in the least !! ;)
We all have times when we just need to get things off our chest*
It would be a little discouraging to me too !!!!!

6th June 2012, 11:55 PM
I agree, it is sad how many dogs don't get to spend time socialising. :) That said I am one of the people who crosses the street when other dogs are coming, if I am walking Lily with the gang. She was not well socialised (came from pound so don;t know her background) and is quite rude to other dogs initially, can lunge at them etc and barks like mad. Then after a few minutes she generally doesn't care any more but it is quite irritating-to-frightening for other people so it is easier to just avoid encounters. It's easier when I have them all in the huge park (Phoenix Park) nearby -- then they can be off lead and I just pop Lily on the lead if another dog is coming while the rest can go visit if they wish. However Lily does have her friends that she knows in the neighbourhood and so she does have dogs she can meet and be friendly with too on walks.

It is very frustrating to have a poorly socialised dog though -- can be a real challenge for owners. Hence I 100% agree that people should use every chance they can to have dogs meet a variety of dogs and people, ideally each day, and not just the same dogs (which can still have them become reactive to strange new dogs).

A great way of socialising dogs is to put them in a great doggie day care for a day a week, say. :D They get to meet and play with lots and lots of dogs in a safe and supervised environment. Training and activity classes are great, too. Don't forget that older dogs will really enjoy refresher obedience classes or the variety of more advanced classes and activity classes many dog trainers do! A lot of people just do puppy training once, and then that's it for fun classes. My partner and I had so much fun doing a "sniffer" class with Kelly Dunbar when she was over from Calif recently -- I took Jaspar, Chris took his alsatian Charlie, and the dogs had a blast for two days with about 20 other dogs, trying to find/scent objects hidden in boxes and obstacle courses.

7th June 2012, 12:07 PM
We had a new lady come to our Club for Flyball a few weeks ago with a JRT about 2 years old. She said that the dog can be funny with other dogs and that out on walks she doesn’t get to socialise very much. She came to Flyball and now also joined Rally Obedience and she was shocked and delighted that her dog didn’t have any problems with any of the dogs at the club even inside the hall. That’s why I like training clubs everything is controlled and supervised and everybody knows what each other’s dogs are like. We do have dogs that are not so friendly and the other owners respect that. Also I find people that continuously attend training be it agility, flyball or obedience are generally a bit more clued up about dogs. We had 4 new people attend our Flyball class and when I talked to them on the phone they all said that their dog had basic obedience, well I don’t know what many people mean with basic obedience. None of the dogs were trained at all and sadly that’s the sort of people you come across when you are out walking. Mine are no angels out on walks that’s why I keep them on the lead in certain places as I don’t want to be a problem to other dog owners.
Sorry rant over.

8th June 2012, 05:14 PM
Hehe! These comments have really cheered me up and I'm so glad it's not just me. When we got Tails we read somewhere that he should meet 10 dogs a week before he reached 15 weeks plus a large number of people (maybe it was 100). We managed to achieve the targets and maybe that's why he is obsessed with meeting other dogs... or maybe this is just part of his nature.

I thought about sending Tails to a doggy daycare sometime.. just as a treat for him and maybe give Lily and I the excuse to have a romantic day without the 'baby'!

8th June 2012, 07:15 PM
Socialization is soooo very important...along w/ being consistent w/ training.
So kudos to you for caring enough to take the right steps to have a well-balanced dog *!!!

I have found here in the U.S. ( at least around where we live) many people w/ smaller dogs seem to let them do whatever they wish. Not sure the reasoning??? ...but many times at the dog parks..they bark, they jump up, they don't come when called, some are even "snippy". They basically rule their owners.

There is nothing wrong w/ giving a dog lots of love and attention ( Lord knows I am always luv' on mine!!)...but if we want a well balanced dog..they need more than that. They want to know who is the leader.

I think ( like what Sabby mentioned) socialization and training go hand & hand. You can't have one and not the other.
Leadership isn't the enemy of FUN where dogs are concerned. In fact...it makes for a happy, well balanced dog.

I truly wish we had more experienced training facilities. I don't know if it is a problem in the U.S. or just around where we live...but I find they are few to be honest.
Many of the so called obedience classes are nothing more than teaching basic sit, stay commands...which most owners can do at home.
We have always owned large dogs ( up until getting "Wrigley" our little Cavalier).
Through the years we had a few rottweillers along with "many" retrievers. Anyway..we always felt it absolutely essential to have them socialized well..and trained well. Waaay beyond just the basics. They had to know we were the alpha.
We still hold to that same philosophy when it comes to our Cavalier..even though he is much smaller..cute ..friendly..and wouldn't hurt a fly! ~ *wink*