Socialization


These training tips include suggestions to help you to socialize your dog outside your home as well as desensitizing your dog to your vacuum cleaner or broom.


Outside Socialization

Improve your dog’s social skills by taking him to your local grocery store and walk him through the parking lot and in front of the store. This will help him get accustomed to shopping carts and groups of people. You can also practise your obedience commands at the same time. If he is doing well outside, try taking him to your local pet-friendly pet food store and walk him up and down the aisles. Practise your sit stays and down stays and greeting strangers as well.


Vacuum Cleaners or Brooms

Does your dog bark at your vacuum or broom when it’s time to tidy up? This usually happens because these items are kept in the closet most of the time and are not left out like a piece of furniture that your dog sees every day. For your vacuum, start off by putting it in a hallway that your dog passes several times a day but don’t turn it on. You can also place a small treat or toy in front of it so that your dog goes close to the vacuum. After a day or so, put your vacuum in a bedroom or the basement and turn the vacuum on so that your dog hears the vacuum from a distance but cannot see it. You may want to ask another family member to help by turning the vacuum on and off for short periods while you watch your dog’s behaviour when he hears the vacuum. If he starts barking, tell him ‘quiet’ and when he is quiet, praise him and give him a small treat reward. Practise this for a few days and then put your vacuum in the living room and turn it on and off for short periods when your dog is nearby and repeat the previous routine if he starts to bark. This routine helps to slowly desensitize your dog to the sound and motion of the vacuum. Try a similar routine with your broom only there is no sound involved. Take your time, don’t rush it and be sure to praise your dog when he remains calm.