Socialization and exposure are an active and lifelong process. Socialization is not simply about exposing your dog to novel stimuli, but rather it is about creating fun and positive experiences. This takes planning on your part. At ClickerExpo 2016, Debbie Martin will tell you what you need to know to be prepared for any situation in her Session Perfect Exposure: Getting Socialization Right. Here are just a few helpful tips to ensure that you are prepared for any situation:
- Use treats liberally. Take a variety of pea-sized, soft, tasty treats that have been “pre-approved” by your dog. Measure out the amount of treats your dog will be fed and end you session before you run out.
- Have the right equipment. Remember water and a bowl, a proper fitting collar or harness, and a 6-foot leash.
- Be aware of your dog’s body language and be his advocate. Common signs that your dog is afraid include tail tucking, hiding, freezing, shaking, pacing, or seeking close human contact.
- Be patient. Allow your dog to explore at his own pace.
- Avoid overwhelming your dog. Situations should be controlled; manipulate distance.
- Keep socializations sessions short. 5 to 10 minutes is often enough. Try to avoid going over 30 minutes unless your dog is able to have a reprieve.
- Have Fun!