As a dog owner, you may be wondering why socialization is so important. It’s your responsibility to turn your hyper little puppy into a well-behaved and obedient adult dog. It’s similar to human socialization. It teaches us to be polite and how to interact with and respect the boundaries of others. It’s important to try and socialize your dog at a young age – if possible.
However, socialization is a process that should never stop! It will determine what kind of personality your dog is going to have, and how friendly they will be around people and other animals. If your dog isn’t exposed to new places, people, weather, objects, sounds, etc. they can develop a fear of anything new.
Taking your dog on walks on a leash is a good place to start in socializing them. Places like puppy classes, dog parks, dog daycare, and stores that allow pets can be good places for supervised interaction and socialization. Just the act of your dog being in public will help build their social skills! An under socialized dog can be timid, fearful, and even aggressive at times.
To be clear, your dog is born knowing how to be a dog. Constant socialization with other dogs as they grow up is necessary to reinforce their learning about the language of dogs – how to listen, how to interpret another dog’s mood, and how to control their actions. Here are few other reasons why dog socialization is so important:
- It reduces fear and anxiety. For a puppy, the entire world is new to them. But, as your dog grows older and isn’t exposed to various situations, new experiences can be frightening. If you socialize your dog he’ll learn to enjoy new experiences and will be able to handle them appropriately.
- It will make your life easier as a dog owner. Long car rides or traveling with your dog can be really stressful if your dog isn’t socialized. But, if you start traveling with your dog at a young age you’ll find it much easier to take him on long trips.
- It will reduce aggression. Some breeds are simply less aggressive than others, but socialization plays a key role in determining how your dog will interact with other dogs they’re unfamiliar with. It’s important to introduce your puppy to other dogs so they can form positive relationships and positive memories of those interactions.
You’ll have the greatest canine companion imaginable if you start socializing them at a young age! Remember, good health includes early socialization. If you have any questions, you can always give us a call or come in and speak to one of our trained professionals!
When we bring a puppy or dog into our homes and lives, we are asking them to change a lot of which is natural about their existence. Certain training is absolutely necessary – like housebreaking – while some is just for fun – like teaching your dog to balance a biscuit on his nose! A well trained dog is a happier dog because a trained dog requires fewer restrictions and has more freedom. Training is an important aspect of socializing your dog to safely interact with people and other animals. It helps increase your dog’s sociability, which is critical to their psychological health. We need to teach our dogs what rules we want them to follow to make everyone’s lives easier.
Training classes provide dog owners with the much needed skills and knowledge of dealing with common dog behaviors – starting with puppy behaviors like teething and housetraining. No matter what age your dog is, foundation training provides the basis for any activity. Foundation training includes commands like sit, stay, come, down and heel. Once your dog is trained with basic good manners, they can join in on the fun when company comes over, when you go to the park for sports games, hikes, swims, or going to a friend’s house! If your dog is going out with you all the time, and being around new people and animals they will be a happier dog. The happier your dog is, the less likely they will have behavioral issues, which will lead to a positive, happy relationship for your life as a pet parent.
Training also equals safety! If your dog can stay and sit at the front door when it’s opened, then they won’t be dashing out every time the door is opened, potentially getting harmed along the way. Not only that, but if your dog runs out the door every time you open it, he could scare someone walking past your house and upset your neighbors. When you train your dog properly using positive training methods, you can help make life a lot safer for them. A trained dog will know to pay attention to you, as the owner, and look to you for guidance.
Training has been shown to be the single most important thing that keeps dogs in their forever home. Here at Central Bark, our dog trainers are really smart humans and use positive training methods to help your pooch learn basic manners! Contact us to set up your appointment for training lessons!
Going through a training class that focuses on (and tests for) a CGC certification is not only a great way to bond with your dog but will also give them a solid obedience education.
What is the CGC certification?
The Canine Good Citizen is a program started by the American Kennel Club (AKC) back in 1989 to reward dogs who possess good manners at home as well as in the community.
A class is taken focusing on specific criteria and then your dog is tested afterwards. Here’s what you’ll learn:
TEST 1: ACCEPTING A FRIENDLY STRANGER
This test demonstrates that the dog will allow a friendly stranger to approach it and speak to the handler in a natural, everyday situation. The evaluator walks up to the dog and handler and greets the handler in a friendly manner, ignoring the dog. The evaluator and handler shake hands and exchange pleasantries. The dog must show no sign of resentment or shyness.
TEST 2: SITTING POLITELY FOR PETTING
This test demonstrates that the dog will allow a friendly stranger to touch it while it is out with its handler. With the dog sitting at the handler’s side, to begin the exercise, the evaluator pets the dog on the head and body. The handler may talk to his or her dog throughout the exercise. The dog may stand in place as it is petted. The dog must not show shyness or resentment.
TEST 3: APPEARANCE AND GROOMING
This practical test demonstrates that the dog will welcome being groomed and examined and will permit someone, such as a veterinarian, groomer or friend of the owner, to do so. It also demonstrates the owner’s care, concern and sense of responsibility. The evaluator inspects the dog to determine if it is clean and groomed. The dog must appear to be in healthy condition (i.e., proper weight, clean, healthy and alert). The handler should supply the comb or brush commonly used on the dog. The evaluator then softly combs or brushes the dog, and in a natural manner, lightly examines the ears and gently picks up each front foot. It is not necessary for the dog to hold a specific position during the examination, and the handler may talk to the dog, praise it and give encouragement throughout.
TEST 4: OUT FOR A WALK (WALKING ON A LOOSE LEAD)
This test demonstrates that the handler is in control of the dog. The dog may be on either side of the handler. The dog’s position should leave no doubt that the dog is attentive to the handler and is responding to the handler’s movements and changes of direction. The dog need not be perfectly aligned with the handler and need not sit when the handler stops. The evaluator may use a pre-plotted course or may direct the handler/dog team by issuing instructions or commands. In either case, there should be a right turn, left turn, and an about turn with at least one stop in between and another at the end. The handler may talk to the dog along the way, praise the dog, or give commands in a normal tone of voice. The handler may sit the dog at the halts if desired.
TEST 5: WALKING THROUGH A CROWD
This test demonstrates that the dog can move about politely in pedestrian traffic and is under control in public places. The dog and handler walk around and pass close to several people (at least three). The dog may show some interest in the strangers but should continue to walk with the handler, without evidence of over-exuberance, shyness or resentment. The handler may talk to the dog and encourage or praise the dog throughout the test. The dog should not jump on people in the crowd or strain on the leash.
TEST 6: SIT AND DOWN ON COMMAND AND STAYING IN PLACE
This test demonstrates that the dog has training, will respond to the handler’s commands to sit and down and will remain in the place commanded by the handler (sit or down position, whichever the handler prefers). The dog must do sit AND down on command, then the owner chooses the position for leaving the dog in the stay. Prior to this test, the dog’s leash is replaced with a line 20 feet long. The handler may take a reasonable amount of time and use more than one command to get the dog to sit and then down. The evaluator must determine if the dog has responded to the handler’s commands. The handler may not force the dog into position but may touch the dog to offer gentle guidance. When instructed by the evaluator, the handler tells the dog to stay and walks forward the length of the line, turns and returns to the dog at a natural pace. The dog must remain in the place in which it was left (it may change position) until the evaluator instructs the handler to release the dog. The dog may be released from the front or the side.
TEST 7: COMING WHEN CALLED
This test demonstrates that the dog will come when called by the handler. The handler will walk 10 feet from the dog, turn to face the dog, and call the dog. The handler may use encouragement to get the dog to come. Handlers may choose to tell dogs to “stay” or “wait” or they may simply walk away, giving no instructions to the dog.
TEST 8: REACTION TO ANOTHER DOG
This test demonstrates that the dog can behave politely around other dogs. Two handlers and their dogs approach each other from a distance of about 20 feet, stop, shake hands and exchange pleasantries, and continue on for about 10 feet. The dogs should show no more than casual interest in each other. Neither dog should go to the other dog or its handler.
TEST 9: REACTION TO DISTRACTION
This test demonstrates that the dog is confident at all times when faced with common distracting situations. The evaluator will select and present two distractions. Examples of distractions include dropping a chair, rolling a crate dolly past the dog, having a jogger run in front of the dog, or dropping a crutch or cane. The dog may express natural interest and curiosity and/or may appear slightly startled but should not panic, try to run away, show aggressiveness, or bark. The handler may talk to the dog and encourage or praise it throughout the exercise.
TEST 10: SUPERVISED SEPARATION
This test demonstrates that a dog can be left with a trusted person, if necessary, and will maintain training and good manners. Evaluators are encouraged to say something like, “Would you like me to watch your dog?” and then take hold of the dog’s leash. The owner will go out of sight for three minutes. The dog does not have to stay in position but should not continually bark, whine, or pace unnecessarily, or show anything stronger than mild agitation or nervousness. Evaluators may talk to the dog but should not engage in excessive talking, petting, or management attempts (e.g, “there, there, it’s alright”).
(taken directly from the AKC’s website http://www.akc.org/dog-owners/training/canine-good-citizen/training-testing/ )
What that all means?
Your dog will be a joy to live with! They’ll have better manners around people and other dogs and respond better around the house to your commands. Plus you’ll be providing training that stimulates your dog’s intelligence and makes their quality of life, as well as yours, much better!
What to do after the class and certification?
Many dog owners choose CGC training as the first step in training their dogs. Some go on to work as service dogs while others progress to activities such as agility.
For additional information check out PetMD http://www.petmd.com/dog/training/evr_dg_canine_citizen
Sign up for the next CGC class at Central Bark http://central-bark.com/site/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/CB-Spring-2017.pdf
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