For years, I’ve found myself in conflict with our claim that dogs need socialization.
A dog is hungry, he needs food.
A dog is thirsty, he needs water.
A dog is social, he needs connection.
Imagine you are at the grocery store, waiting at the checkout line.
The person notices your shirt…
They tap you on your shoulder and say, “I love your shirt, isn’t that the truth!”
And then they proceed to tell you a story about their dog. It turns out they have a rescue, and adopted their dog from the rescue you love and support.
Humans are social. We need to be seen, felt, and heard. As social beings, the above interaction portrays one of connection. You both found yourself to be acquainted by something in common, and the longer you talk, you may find that you have even more in common.
Now, imagine that you make the time to continue talking just a bit longer. You even wait for them to check out as you walk out of the grocery store together.
As you load your groceries into the car, your mind continues to create happy thoughts… and you’re feeling how awesome it was to run it a complete stranger who, in such a short amount of time, exchanged so much with you.
So much what?
What is it that made you feel this awesomeness?
As social beings, we are all seeking connection. Dogs are no different. This is why dog parks and some dog daycares don’t work for them.
They are not looking for a place for their own species to congregate and collect. They too are seeking the opportunity to form deep connections, from a place within them.
Say you are out on a walk with your dog and you encounter a neighbor walking their dog. The “interest” both dogs show in each other as they pull each other to reduce their distance comes from a desire to want to connect.
Not all dogs connect.
Not all people connect.
But when the connection happens, it is in that experience that friendships develop.
“Social groupings” is one of the 8 Spheres of Enrichment.
It is in understanding a social being’s need for connection that we became aware that they have a need to create their own social groupings.
Teena Patel is a Certified Dog Trainer and Behavioral Counselor who works with pet owners and owners of doggy daycares to bring her philosophy of Enrichment to the canine population. After almost two decades of successful dog training under her belt, Teena has done away with the standard doggy daycare “warehousing” of animals in kennels and runs. In place of an industrial model, she focuses on what is right for the dogs as living beings, providing experiences that improve and enhance their behavioral health. Coupled with a program of careful training, the Doglando experience results in companion dogs who are better-behaved, better integrated into their families, and above all, much happier. True to her passion, Teena Patel gives dogs the freedom “to be dogs”.
If you’re ready to provide more purposeful and meaningful engagement for the dogs in your care, talk with Teena!