Socialization: Why it’s important

My Personal Journey – by Trish Manche

For the last 16 years, I had two awesome Jack Russell Terriers (Jack Russell Terrorists!).  Terriers as a breed have such large personalities, even the small terriers fit the stereotype. I recall reading the following words about Jack Russell Terriers in particular “they are nothing if not persistent”. Those words stayed with us their entire lives and could not be more true.  In their minds they are not small dogs, but as big as a Lab or a Shepherd.

We started off good and took the dogs through training courses when they were young, however, we failed to socialize them properly and had no idea the impact it would have on our lives. Our front window faced a sidewalk where lots of our neighbors walked their dogs.  The frustration of seeing these dogs outside seemed to build in our male dog in particular.  Our dog became a danger to himself and other dogs and the second dog became part of his pack during these outbursts. We put them through a boarding training facility who was able to demonstrate everything the dogs had learned, but things were different when we got them home. These were our forever dogs, we cherished both of them until each breathed their last breath.  I however learned a lot of valuable lessons about how I wanted my future dogs to be.  I also learned more about rescue and how many dogs die needlessly in shelters.  It definitely had an impact on my thinking.

I wish I had known the trainer that I have now back then.  He has taught me that a calm voice and a cool head are the best to deal with a misbehaving pet.  The more agitated you become, this flows down to your dog and the more escalated the situation can become. There is lots of information online about socializing your dog. Be sure to take your dog out for walks.  If you have friends or family members with dogs where you can allow them play time, great! Dog parks can be good and bad experiences, but can offer socialization. Even doggie daycare and boarding. There are some dogs who just prefer to be on their own and that’s fine too, but you probably would want to stick to walks vs. the dog park. If you are having difficulty, reach out to a professional for help.  Although this may seem costly, it’s 100% worth it for your peace of mind.  You just have to find the right trainer!  Your rescue can make recommendations.

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