The nice weather is here - and if you're anything like me, you love spending some time on these nice days with your dog. You think of the fun things you can do together - the sights you'll see, the places you'll go. But if Lady isn't used to high-intensity public locales or handling herself in social situations, getting out and about to new places that offer new sights, new sounds, and a lot of people and other dogs can be stressful and overwhelming for her (and as a result, less fun for you).
If you want to be able to take Lady into these kinds of situations with you - strolling through the center of town on a sunny afternoon, enjoying a bite at the local café, or meeting friends on the rail trail - it's important to set Lady up for success by breaking these situations down into small slices and building her up to be confident in them. Starting with places like the Walkway or rail trail, a dog park, or other bustling sites may actually do more harm for Lady than good if she's staying in a highly-aroused emotional state the whole time. Ensuring Lady can take some time to process situations without pressure will allow you to help Lady stay in a calm emotional state, building her confidence so you can get closer to your goal. Picking the right kinds of outings for Lady that are going to help her rather than hinder her are critically important to your success. But do you know where to go or what to look for in terms of good socialization?
I've made a list of some of my favorite places in the Hudson Valley for positive socialization. I like them all because they each allow the space needed for Lady to process at a distance where she feels comfortable, you can be as close or as far away from the action as needed, and they all have fun things to offer too! Want to know where?
Maria Huntoon, CBCC-KA