I want to share a quote with you today that resonates deeply with me.
When you like a flower, you just pluck it. But when you love a flower , you water it daily…..One who understand this, understand life….
I feel like this quote is so profound - not just in life but in dog training as well. Let’s take socialization for example. When we talk about socializing our puppies the first thing that comes to mind in practice is to get your dog to say hi to every single person and to get your dog to love to play with other dogs.
But what does it mean if you have a puppy that isn’t naturally that way? What if you have a puppy that is more reserved, or takes some time to warm up to new people or dogs? Does that mean they are bad dogs or their socializing skills are poor?
To look deeper into this, let’s take a look at our own species - human beings for example. I’ll use me as a guinea pig here.
By nature, I err on the side of shy and introverted. In fact, a lot of activities that my extroverted friends enjoy and crave I tend to find overwhelming and daunting….but does that mean I’m socially inappropriate? Hardly - it just means that I prefer quieter activities, generally with smaller groups. And there’s nothing wrong with that. That’s entirely okay.
So why wouldn’t this apply for our dogs to account for their personality quirks and differences too?
Just like with us, some dogs prefer quieter friends, fewer friends, no friends, or prefer human friends over dog friends and that is just as acceptable as a dog that loves to play and interact with other dogs in a friendly manner.
You see to me, the term socialization means to bring out the best in your puppy - to allow them to be their most confident selves in the skin they are in, not in what we project on them that we want them to be.
While all my pups must learn to read and express dog body language to improve communication between him and other dogs, and while my dog must know enough to know how to greet other dogs and people appropriately (or in some cases not at all) and diffuse situations should they arrive, I am also not so attached to the idea about how energetic or interested they are in other dogs as my gauge for how well socialized my puppy is. Does that make sense?
When I design a socialization program, my approach for shy dogs versus more outgoing puppies would differ slightly just to help bring out the best confidence in each type.
Did you know shyer puppies can find peace in obedience because it gives them structure - something they can focus on instead of (fill in blank for scary thing) - and when they learn they can trust their human mums or dads can take care of said scary thing they will be able to relax and trust the process, thereby becoming more confident?
Did you know more boisterous puppies can find a different kind of peace - stillness of the mind - impulse control - in obedience so they can learn to be calm and focused when they are around higher level distractions that tend to make most dogs out of control?
Our upcoming 6 week puppy class is tailor designed to help guide you in raising your puppy and preparing him or her for your unique life taking into account his unique personality. Want more details? Check out the link below to learn more and register online today!
Do you have a shyer pup or one whose personality doesn’t seem to fit the outgoing people loving dog loving that we all seem to expect from all pet dogs? We’d love to hear from you and your experiences with your pup and learn how we can help you! Leave your comments and share your story with us down below! Find this information valuable? Share the love via our social media icons below!