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Dog Play-Dates: It’s only fun until someone – or dog – gets hurt

May 17, 2009

Like many of you humans, you don’t necessarily like every other person you meet, right? Well, just because I’m a 10 pound mutt that knows a lot, doesn’t mean I like every other dog I meet… However, with proper “first impression” dog training steps, it can be easy for me to do so.

Unlike many of you “mature” humans, us dogs don’t have an underlying, pre-judgement agenda. Sure we may have learned by associations (classical conditioning) that some dogs predict certain events – even certain breeds that look alike. And, whether following events are pleasant or unpleasant, we’ll bring that “baggage” of emotional history with us. However, with the right training, you can help us like whichever dog you want us to. 
My mom, who happens to be a certified dog trainer, just answered one of our Noozhawk advice column questions that had to do with this very topic. A caring dog guardian in Austin Texas was asking about what to do with her own shy dog and her neighbors exuberant (and a bit pushy) Pomeranian. Seems the Pom was “picking on” her dog every time they walked by. Whoa, been there done that! No fun… 
From this dogs point of view, I’d like to add a thing or two. A couple of dog training tips that mom has done with yours truly, and a few of my own tidbits…
  • While I’m on my leash, whenever mom and I walk by another dog, I get little treat. Now, whenever I see another dog, or hear another dog bark or tags jingle, I look straight at mom for my snackie. I love when other dogs are around. 
  • If I’m off leash, romping about, or if another dog should come up and want to say hi to me, mom acts like a cheerleader, praising me for being polite and a good boy, then rewards me with yummy chicken! (That’s my favorite). 
  • Another one of moms dog training steps is her Barking Protocol. This is the one she has her Inquisitive Canine students follow in her dog training classes, dog socials, workshops, and even with her private training clients. The Barking Protocol is simple: whenever another dog barks, your own dog gets a treat. If your own dog is barking, ask him or her to do something else, then reward them. Simple. 

Mom gave the nice lady in Austin some great dog training tips, both in our Noozhawk advice column and on her dog training tips blog. You can check them out yourself. And, if the mood strikes, you can even ask us your own question about life with your dog. 

I wonder when we’re going out to look for other dogs? Hmm, something for this inquisitive canine to ponder. 

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