With the KW Pet Expo coming up I've been asked by a few people if they think its a good place to take their dog for socialization. My answer on this one depends on if you have built up to crowds/close passes with strange dogs and if your dog is bombproof enough to handle other dogs potentially barking/lunging at them if another owner fails to maintain enough space/control of their dog. Think about it like defensive driving - it's not just you but others on the road or in the space that could cause problems for you and your dog. If you've built up to this level of stimulation and feel confident navigating your dog through it - Great! I'm not saying it's a bad place for every dog, BUT for many dogs this could be an overwhelming and stressful situation, in which case it is not an ideal place to work on socializing your dog. Having enough space to move away from scary things is important and often not an option in crowded areas/aisles. Karen Pryor has a great article for more information on appropriate socialization: https://clickertraining.com/dont-socialize-the-dog. If it seems like it might be overwhelming, your pup might prefer that you go without him/her and focus on your shopping and bring him/her back some new swag!
Dogs are amazing creatures that bring joy into our lives in countless ways and love us even when we make mistakes. Being a dog trainer doesn't make me immune to making mistakes (that little girl pictured left is very quick to point that out!) and while I have many answers for common behavioural problems, there isn't a day that goes by that I don't learn something new from the dogs that come into my life - be it in classes or in my home. I've decided to open up and share some of my experiences through this blog for the same reason I decided to become a trainer in the first place: to help people understand their dogs and build a lasting relationship built on trust. So whether you own a dog and can relate to some of these experiences or just want to stop by to see some cute pictures or videos and laugh at some puppy antics, I hope you enjoy some of the tales I am about to share. The majority of these posts will be tales of dogs who have come to stay at my home, but from time to time I may share (with permission) some of the tales of the dogs I have had the pleasure of helping along my path as a dog trainer. Feel free to share your experiences in the comments or ask questions. I just ask (as always) that you keep it positive :)