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Do people not socialize dogs anymore?

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Yeah, I'm getting frustrated.

I've tried signing up for two separate classes in my area. One was canceled for "lack of interest" and that particular trainer is moving out of the area. The next one I signed up for, not only was I the ONLY participant, the trainer didn't even bother to show up. That class was in a town 20 minutes from me.

Jack and I are coming along in our relationship/training fun, but I really wanted a class for dog/people socialization. We live out in the boonies and encounter nothing on our walks besides ourselves and of course the fun of sniffing the wildlife spoor (Jack, not me LOL).

I live in Rockingham County, NC. The other options for us would be Danville, VA (30 mins away) or Greensboro NC (1 hr).

Is there anybody near me that knows of some place for meetings with fun people and fun dogs? I talked to one guy in Reidsville who has his dogs in agility but seems very reluctant for fundamentals (for later training) or pup fun besides his dog daycare business.




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I don't know how old your dog is, but you can socialize your dog in less formal ways.

I routinely take mine to Home Depot, Lowe's, tractor Supply, car dealers when I take my cars for service, feed stores, Petco, Petsmart, kids' playgrounds, outside mini malls, hiking trails, Starbucks (cpoutside cafes), even some small (not chain) bookstores.


My dogs, as a result, are used to noise from big equipment, squealing kids, laying down quietly and not begging, impulse control....you get the idea.


If it's socialization with other dogs, I'd be careful. Ask your vet if you can put up a sign for play dates, ask for classes at Petco or Petsmart (I'm not crazy about them but they will get your dog around other dogs.)

I take my dogs everywhere and I explore. I've even taken them into an AT&T store!!! (that was because I know the owner and it was late)

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I've done the same as the post above. I would also suggest contacting or looking at the site of your local shelter, if you have a bigger SPCA or humane society. They will have places to refer you to for training or may even have their own to offer. You can also ask friends, family or neighbors who you know have mannerly dogs if you can get together. I used to always ask people to come over to run their dogs with mine to help him learn how to interact with dogs or to join us on hikes at parks.

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Lots of good suggestions above. I'll reiterate the caution about finding appropriate dogs/puppies to socialize with.


My BC and I were fortunate to find puppy classes, yet supplemental play sessions with neighbors/friends puppies were sometimes a bust. Some were labrador-type breeds (and others), who chased my frightened pup non-stop around the yard. I recognized the problem fairly quickly, and didn't repeat it. With effort, we located appropriate play-mates, and they are still buddies many years later.


In retrospect, I think the suggestions I have seen on other threads are good. Meet in a neutral place, like a park or walking trail. Keep them on leash for a while, and just take walks together. Hang around and talk to the handler in a friendly manner, in such a way that the dogs/puppies can see one another, but not physically interact. Socializing between owners tells the puppies that everything is OK.


Don't hurry things, and don't immediately release two dogs/puppies who don't know one another to interact. It won't necessarily go well, and IMO could have a negative effect on future socialization. Take it gradually.


I thought, at first, that perhaps my BC puppy had a "Chase me in an aggressive/manic way" sign on her. Maybe she did, but she seems to have grown into a confident adult. I've seen her chase misbehaving stray dogs off "her" property. I didn't approve it, as the dogs were somewhat of an unknown quantity, and it could have gotten her in trouble. With other dogs, especially BCs, she frequently shows playful behavior. Sometimes overly serious BCs will tell her, "Maybe later Josie, I've got work to do."


As you know, socialization is important. Of course, be sure to handle it correctly. There must be books and videos on the subject. I understand setting-up appropriate play dates is difficult, but worth the effort. -- Best wishes, TEC

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Dragging the dog everywhere with me works pretty well. And there is a web-based thing happening called Meet-Ups. Basically it's a way to connect socially with other people who have similar interests.


So you'd search for MeetUp North Carolina or MeetUp Virginia, and see who is gathering. In my area there are groups for people who are interested in wine tasting, hiking, hiking with your dog, crocheting, writing computer code, etc, etc. etc.


There might be a group for dog lovers that you could check out. I'm going for my first hike with a Trails and Tails group close to me tomorrow. Gibbs will love it, and I'll see how far I can walk uphill before I wilt . Should be fun.


You might have better luck taking Jack into locally owned businesses than the chain places. Though I can take Gibbs into Home Depot here, and into my credit union. When I started doing those things with him, I'd literally walk him in to the store a few feet, have him sit, give him a cookie or a head scratch, then turn around and walk out. Then I upped that to walking him around and working cues or simple tricks with him. It's a lot of fun, he's much more at ease in those situations now.


And check with dog walking services. They might have resources you haven't looked into.


Good luck!


Ruth and Agent Gibbs

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  • 2 weeks later...

I don't know if Carolina Dog Training in Greensboro offers a socialization class, but they do have beginners classes that start every quarter. Now that we are on DST, you could probably get there for the earliest class and maybe make it back to your house before dark. Carolina Dog Training is having their Obedience trial this weekend. You could ride down and see just how long it would take you to get there.


Check out Winston Salem Dog Training Club in Forsyth County. It would be a little bit of a haul for you, but they may have a class that would fit your needs.


The Piedmont of NC is full of people who do agility and obedience. Unfortunately you are located in a county that doesn't have an active obedience/agility club.

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