Purposeful Socialization

Jade shows a relaxed, confident expression in this photo. This is Jade moments after she recovered from an emotional barky greeting with a scary dress!

As Jade and I were sitting on this bench, I noticed Jade close her mouth, narrow her eyes somewhat, and track a women across the road. The young woman had a ball cap on her head with pretty blond hair blowing in the wind under it. She had a jean jacket over a flowing summer dress and red sneakers.

My response

I spoke to Jade and took a relaxing breath to help settle her as I realized this lady was crossing the street directly at us!

“Hi” she said as I was putting a treat to Jade’s nose to lead her away and prevent a bark. Too late! Jade was up and barking loudly! I said “hello”, just as she began to turn away, apologizing that she was upsetting my dog. I said “Wait, please don’t leave, she just needs a minute to investigate your moving dress.” The lady looked down at her dress and removed her hat without me asking her to. I held Jade tight as she wanted to go to the lady, but was still barking. I led Jade off the bench and bent down as if picking something up on the ground. Jade looked down briefly as I slowly laid a treat on the ground, then another. Then I said “Jade, sit, wait”, a patterned behavior she knows very well. I explained to this lovely lady that Jade would benefit by coming to greet her and resolving her concerns over her flowing dress. She graciously agreed as she wanted to greet Jade also. I said, “Jade, go say hi”. Jade quickly bounced the 10 foot distance between us while letting out a few more barks. She then smelled this very kind lady all over. I handed her a few treats to feed Jade in hopes Jade would not grab the dress and tug it!😳

Recovery takes time

I continued to take deep breaths to help calm the situation. Jade calmed quickly and sat automatically in hopes of getting more treats. Which she did. She then ate treats from me while the lady ran her fingers through the fur along Jade’s back. Jade enjoys petting after greetings, so this was a positive for her.

I continued to carry on our conversation to allow Jade time to completely resolve this new person with the flowing dress. The lady was looking to get a dog so we chatted about different breed characteristics and the importance of purposeful, positive socialization. Convinced we humans talk too much, Jade laid down and chewed on a stick.

As we said good bye, I continued to thank her for helping Jade along her socialization journey. ❤️

Using a toy to socialize Jade to a child.