Dog Socialization – The Muddy Paws Difference

Why is Muddy Paws different from other dog walking and pet sitting companies?

Muddy Paws does much more than just let your dog out to relieve them.  We encourage exercise and DOG SOCIALIZATION.  Everyone has heard that a tired dog is a happy dog.  Well, did you know that a socialized dog makes for a happy owner?  It’s true!

Muddy Paws is a dog walking and pet sitting company which understands that life these days is busy!  If you have a hectic schedule that changes day to day, you should still be able to have a dog and not feel guilty that they are home alone.  We are here to help you with your pet’s needs.  We are extremely responsive and super flexible and take our job very seriously (even though it is very fun!).  Each dog walker lives within their designated area so that we can handle last minute requests, off-hours visits, or even assist if you lock yourself out of your home!

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So what is socialization? 

Socialization can mean many things and it does not just mean that dogs are good with other dogs.  Overall, socialization is learning to be a part of society.  The best way to socialize your dog is to expose them to a variety of different situations at an early age, ideally 3-12 weeks.  The key is providing them with a positive experience while introducing them to new things.  If they have a positive experience, they will remember it!  This doesn’t mean that if something goes awry that they are ruined forever so don’t worry about that.  You will need to work harder at getting them to have a happier experience the next time around (hint hint, high value treats help!), but it will happen.

The wider the range of experiences as a puppy, the more likely it is that your dog will be comfortable in a variety of situations as an adult.

If I have an adult dog that has not been socialized as a puppy, does this mean they are doomed? 

ABSOLUTELY NOT!

If you rescued a dog that is not well socialized and is beyond the puppy stage, they can still be socialized.  Dogs are extremely resilient and most have a go-with-the-flow attitude and they look to their owners for guidance.  This is a great recipe for perfecting the ideal pet!  You can still socialize an older dog, but keep in mind realistic expectations.  If your dog does not like other dogs jumping at/on them, don’t expect them to enjoy going to the dog park where you will likely find boisterous and excitable dogs.  Rather, take them on leashed walks where you will encounter other dogs and people, but you will be able to control your dog safely.  The more comfortable they are around other dogs and people, the easier it will get.  Every dog is different and understanding who they actually are and how you would like them to be are two very different things.  Maintaining a happy balance is the key to everyone’s happiness.

Okay, so I understand what socialization is, but how does this affect my dog and my happiness?

If you have a well-socialized dog, your dog will be comfortable in all kinds of situations.  This means that you can have people over to your house and won’t have to worry about your dog snarling or growling at someone new.  You can take your dog on walks and not worry about your dog lunging at oncoming dogs/people.  And the list goes on and on.

Dogs who are relaxed about loud noises, cars, oncoming dogs, bicyclists, and strangers are easier and safer to live with than dogs that fear these situations.  Well-socialized dogs tend to be more relaxed and happier since they are not stressed out by their environment.  If your dog is able to relax, you have 1 less thing to worry about!

How does Muddy Paws socialize my dog?

The Muddy Paws experience consists of relief breaks, exercise, and socialization.  The relief breaks and exercise is pretty self explanatory, the socialization aspect is where the magic happens!

We truly believe that walking dogs in multiples helps in so many ways.  First of all, walking more than 1 dog at a time teaches them how to walk properly on a leash.  Yes, it’s true!  If you walk 1 dog at a time, they twist and turn and stop & sniff, you feel like you are at the mercy of what they want to do.  If you walk 2+ dogs at a time, everyone has their own spot and needs to stay in their own spot – no exceptions. That is the expectation and they adapt to it (some take longer than others to get it, but they do get it eventually!).

The dogs we walk LOVE walking with friends.  You’ve probably heard that dogs are pack animals.  Well, it’s true.  They would much rather be with someone than be by themselves.  There are times that we ‘just know’ which dog will be a perfect match for another dog because of their temperaments.  In general though, when introducing a new dog to a pack member, we introduce them to one of our gentle/easygoing dogs who isn’t going to pounce or react unfavorably (bark incessantly because they see another dog).  We will give them some space and let them get accustomed to each other (aka butt sniffing time!).  Once the dogs exchange each other’s information, they are ready to walk.  They walk with confidence and a purpose and they get in the zone.  The onlookers might bark at us as we walk by, but the pack is not phased, they just keep on walking.  It is truly awesome!

My dog is socialized already, why should I get a dog walker?

Socialization is a continuous process.  Dogs are similar to humans in that they evolve over time and go through different phases; puppyhood, adolescence, maturity, elderly.  If they are not continuously socialized as they evolve, they may revert and become hostile or develop fears with situations that they used to be comfortable with.  Muddy Paws, will make sure that the socialization is ongoing and your dog will continue to have rewarding and fun contacts with other dogs.  Don’t forget, a socialized dog makes for a happy owner!

Socialization for puppies

The best things about puppies are that they are exceptionally cute, they are genuinely enthusiastic about everything life has to offer, and they are so much fun to be around.  The biggest challenge with puppies is that they have so much energy and are so uncontrollably happy about EVERYTHING, that they do not act appropriately all the time.  If you want to reign in their energy and keep them focused, training and exercise is the way to go.

Muddy Paws takes on lots of puppies as clients.  They learn ‘the ropes’ from the seasoned dogs and it is very cool to witness.  A human can tell a puppy repeatedly to stop biting them (those nail-like teeth hurt!) and eventually the puppy will stop the unwanted behavior.  If a dog ‘tells’ a puppy to stop doing something, the puppy will (almost always) stop the unwanted behavior immediately!  The puppy learns quickly that if the bite causes pain, the other dog will not play with him anymore.  Of course, they do not want the fun to end, so they learn biting etiquette quickly.  It is so incredible to see and yet another reason we encourage dogs walking in groups.

My dog is not good with other dogs; do the dogs have to be walked together?

No.  In fact, we would never recommend mixing a dog that is not dog-friendly with other dogs.  However, we would love to discuss why you do not think your dog is good with other dogs.  Dogs are similar to children and will act better for their babysitters than their owners.  Dogs can sometimes be protective of their owners and be seen as ‘leash aggressive’.  This does not necessarily mean that they are not dog-friendly.  In fact these types of dogs might be a good fit to walk with other dogs and it can actually help correct their behavior.

If you are looking specifically for solo walks, we would love to discuss your dog’s needs to see if we are a good fit.  Since pet care is very specific, we would need more information to make a definite decision.

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