New Small Dog Socialization Class in Scarborough

Dogs 35 lbs and under are welcome, unless personally invited by Judy.

Socialization Classes are held Thursday evenings 5:00 PM at Tender Touch Veterinary Hospital
Sunday afternoons 11:00 AM.  14 Main Street, North Yarmouth
  • Beginning Thursday 2/24/2011
  • Updated Vaccinations  –  Required including the Kennel Cough
  •  No Registration required – Only $10 dollars per session or $50 for 6 sessions if paid up front!
  • Dogs will be seperated based  on their temperament needs. 
  • Plenty of space available.
In my experience most aggressive behavior by dogs is not due to “dominance” but is due to an emotional reaction, fear and frustration being the most typical. A dog that is afraid is a dog under stress and like a person under severe stress can react very irrationally and if they feel threatened very forcefully. Sadly there are still
trainers that tell people to punish their dogs for growling or advise them to force the dog into a sit-stay and allow people to pet it or worse hold it down while another dog sniffs it. This would be like taking a person afraid of tarantula and tying them in a chair and allowing tarantulas to crawl all over them. This approach is certainly
not humane and is more likely to make the fear worse.

Dogs with emotional issues can be helped, but time, patience and positive associations will be needed.  Step one is to help your dog feel safe, in doing so you need your dog to Trust you. We want our fearful dogs to think we are protecting them, not the other way around.

Undesirable behaviors in dogs that are attributed to “dominance” are not due to a pack driven instinct of the dog, but rather are due to our failure to take responsibility for the dog’s needs, and to humanely train ourselves and our dog. Building your dogs confidence is key in changing his/her fearful behavior. 

Socializing your small dog in a safe environment with many repetitions of positive associations is very helpful.  Rewarding your dog every time he walks past another dog, or sniffs or offers a play bow or allows a dog to sniff him is a big win win for both your dog and you.  
Keep in mind, if you have rescued a small dog that barks and lunges at other dogs and has been doing so for a long period of time, take heart it is behavior which can be modified over time using Positive Associations.  Is there a quick fix? No, the more reactive your dog is the more frustrated or fearful he is.  Punishing him will not only make him worse he will become unpredictable,  fine one moment and explode the next. Why? Because you are only punishing his response, you are not changing his emotion which created the response.  Unconditional love, patience and lots of Positive Reinforcement Training is the key.
Strive to be good dog owner, when trained properly, you can be your dogs best friend!