Socialization - Call for Help

When it comes to dog training, especially in the case of a dog that must be socialized slowly and carefully, it’s always a good idea to enlist help. 

Fortunately I have some of the best help around at my canine center, Dog Gone Smart. 

Mystic enjoyed visiting Dog Gone Smart. The puppy playtime was a great help for him in learning how to interact with other dogs. 

Until he was too big for puppies his age. He pounces harder and nips too roughly. He started to outweigh the other puppies almost immediately. So we moved him up to the small dogs group and the trouble started. 

It’s the news no parent wants to hear from their child’s school. Mystic was getting bullied. 

But it was also predictable.  

Mystic is a big dog for his age.  He’s a puppy in the body of a much older dog. And you would normally think that that would mean that the smaller dogs would be afraid of him and would leave him alone.  

Right and wrong. They are afraid but they don’t leave him alone. With dogs, feeling intimidated leads to acts of aggression. Especially since the older dogs know that Mystic is just a puppy. They act aggressively towards him in expecting that he will be intimated and cower down to them. 

Classic bully behavior really. 

But really just not a great environment for Mystic. 

It might be time for individual training. 

From his first visit, Mystic took a respectful liking to Todd. And that is very helpful. Not necessary by any means but it makes things easier if the dog is predisposed to viewing you as an authority. 

Unlike the Sawyer Incident. Update on that soon. 

One of Todd’s first jobs was getting Mystic acclimated to the leash.  

Leash training can be tough for an independent dog like Mystic. It takes work and patience.

Once Mystic was accepting of the leash, we raised the stakes and Todd and John moved on to walking both Mystic and Eloise on the leash in proximity to each other. 

More difficult. But necessary. 

And effective. 

With Todd and John in a neutral space, neither Eloise nor Mystic had ownership of the territory or the people involved. This would be a totally different story if we were doing this at my home or with me or one of my children. 

Neutrality is key. 

In a lot of things. Even swimming. 

At Dog Gone Smart we have an indoor pool that we use to teach dogs water safety. 

Many people think that all dogs are natural swimmers but that is not true.

So Todd started Mystic with the basics. 

It started with Mystic just getting acclimated to the water. Getting used to the feel and buoyancy. It was done in his time and his speed. 

By now Todd and Mystic have a rapport, so Todd’s encouragement is very helpful. So much so that it didn’t take long at all for Mystic to wade right in.  

First he played with him around the edge of the pool so Mystic could get used to the environment. It’s loud and echo-y in the pool room, giving the dog time to get comfortable in a weird new room is essential. Especially if you start swim training indoors rather than a beach or outside pool. 

A quick game gets Mystic to the first stair and then SPLASH! 

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