It’s the little white poodles – and the well-groomed schnauzers – that are the real trouble makers. Bark, bark, bark. The noisy, incessant yaps fill the air, recoiling off eardrums, going on and on. You’d think these furry little canines had something important to say – or were running for political office.
The big dogs; they are the serious dudes, noble, strong and confident. They project a quiet confidence that can seem almost sinister in nature: “Don’t mess with me, man; I can have you for lunch.”
The Park on Main® is Pet Friendly
Don’t get us wrong. We at The Park on Main®, the pet-friendly luxury hotel in Highlands, North Carolina, absolutely love dogs and … gulp … cats. But as we all know, sometimes dogs will be dogs, especially when an unsuspecting cat enters the room. The canine nature is complex and wild – not too far from its ancestor the wolf.
As we at The Park on Main® have explored other aspects of pet psyche, such as personality, we will answer the fundamental question of first-time pet owners: How do I get my pet to behave itself in public – you know, prim, proper and sophisticated like its owner. (Snicker, snicker.)
The Animal Humane Society states that socializing an adult dog is different than for a puppy. Puppies aged 3-20 weeks go through a sensitive and open learning phase and are open to new experiences. Training puppies is generally easier; when puppies behave themselves, humans should reward them with small treats which helps the puppies retain the new impression and develop appropriate behavior. This phase ends after 4-5 months.
Canine Socialization Often Misunderstood
Dog socialization is often misunderstood by human owners, the AHS states. Puppies generally respond well in structured environments with other dogs. However, socially mature adult dogs typically don’t respond well in large groups of unfamiliar dogs. Their responses can appear aloof or protective: They may avoid other dogs, growl at younger dogs or stay with their human companions. The AHS states that this type of behavior is normal and healthy.
The focus of training adult dogs should be on getting them to behave calmly in public; they’re aloof behavior at dog parks should not be a concern. The AHS suggests bringing treats on dog walks and reward pets for good behavior. Dogs don’t need to be “introduced” to every other dog during a walk or at The Park on Main®. If your dog starts barking – remember the poodles and schnauzers – at another dog, get your dog’s attention, calm your dog down and continue with your walk. If the encounter is welcome, bring the animals together, but be very careful with how the leash holds the dog. You don’t want the leash to recoil.
Contrary to conventional wisdom, an aggressively barking dog should not be punished for what may appear as a display of dominance. Often the barking could be a sign of stress and punishing the dog could exacerbate the problem.
Like their human counterparts, sometimes dogs do want to be social. To help your dog become more social, introduce your pet to one dog at a time, the AMS recommends. That way the dogs develop a pattern of socialization and expectation.
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