Socializing my service dog Bella has been a primary concern for me. Bella is out and about all of the time with me so I need to ensure that her socialization skills are well above average. Since most people re amazed that I use a Doberman as a service dog, I am often visited by dog lovers of all ages questioning my choice. Dobermans are definitely a little harder to train, but once the skill is learned, Bella never forgets it.
Because she has been introduced to many situations that are not common to pets. Her loyalty is beyond reproach in normal situations. Strangers can come up to us and she will sit or lay down while we talk. She will continue to take her stationary position until I move again. She possesses the coping skills to avoid reactions or fear in new situations and sounds. She has been to drag races, fireworks, restaurants, movies, live shows, hospital settings, nursing homes, and concerts. Once in a while she will lift her head and raise her ears to hear the sound that is unfamiliar. However, there is no reaction or fear noted in her body language. Bella’s training also included exposure to all types of other dogs and other animals (ie. cats, etc.).
Bella can certainly draw attention to herself by just being a “dog in a store”. I have met many new people because of her. Most strangers will read her jacket which says, “please ask to pet”, and ask. I always put her in a sit position and say “yes you may”. I want to keep her socialized at all times. She is allowed to explore all ages and different types of people. And her training is definitely paying off. As states in the previous article it is imperative that all of the socialization training sessions re accomplished calmly and patiently. there should always be a positive out come from the interaction.
As seen in the picture above, we recently met Freedom, a male black Lab Service Dog in a local pet store. The store was full of barking, jumping and playing with many customers within the store. the two service dogs acknowledged their existence and sat quietly while I interacted with Freedom’s handler. It was amazing to see these two working animal’s behavior within this chaotic environment. In my opinion, successful socialization is the key to having an orderly and successful relationship with your pup. It doesn’t matter whether your dog is a “working Dog” or just your best canine friend and family member.
Don’t ever disregard the importance of making sure your dog is socialized. It will save you a lot of grief.
Lovin My Pup says: REMEMBER TO SMOOCH YOUR POOCH TONIGHT! Good night for now!