Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Socialization and Being Recognized

Over the last weekend, by chance, Niko had a lot of socialization time.  Socialization is introducing your dog to unfamiliar things they may be shy toward and helping them adapt and ease their fears. It is also about exposing your dog to new people and dogs so they learn how to act appropriately with proper etiquette.  Objects to socialize dogs to can range from people on bikes to the sound of a doorbell. 
There was a large community garage sale that spanned many streets and we took Niko along for the walk. There were hundreds of people on foot. Shiba Inus are not common dogs in our region, so Niko receives a lot of attention.  There were a few people who recognized the breed and some said he looked like the dog in Hachiko the movie based on a true story. That movie is about an Akita dog, but I have read that they filmed with Shiba Inus in the puppy scenes. It was good socialization time because Niko met a variety of people who asked to pet him. We are very proud of his behavior. He remained very calm and allowed friendly pets and rubs; he even wagged his tail to show his appreciation. We met a few dogs and their owners too.

While walking on a street, we were stopped by a woman who asked us, "do you ski?" We gave her confused looks and she explained she recognized Niko from when she went cross country skiing. We confirmed it was us skiing at the same park a few months ago. She continued to rave at what a unique and beautiful dog Niko is to her friend. That encounter put a smile on our faces...that Niko is sort of a local celebrity. I heard my comments like "look at that dog!" and "just like a fox!" all throughout the event.

We live in a region where dog friendliness is not a top priority. We don't have a lot of outside eateries where we can bring Niko and dog parks are a rarity too. If you are in the same boat, you might be interested to know that a lot of home improvement retail stores are indeed pet friendly. When I found out Lowes allows dogs insides, I started bringing Niko along on those shopping trips. On the first trip, he was apprehensive and shy. His sniffer was all over the place. When we took him last weekend, he was more of an observer. He looked at what we did and observed things going on around him. If you want to do this with your dog, make sure he/she is on a leash and is potty trained. We must respect stores who are kind enough to let us bring in our pets. Know of other common stores who are pet friendly? Please share!
"Um, what aisle is plywood in? I want to build a doghouse!"

Although this weekend's activities were not as physical as say a hike in the woods, Niko was exercised in a different manner and he ended up being pretty tired by Sunday night. 

P/S: we are rather hopeless that Niko will ever be socialized to baths though...


  1. Wow, I had no idea that Lowes was pet friendly. How do you go about finding out if a store will allow you to take dogs inside. I have never seen a dog in Lowes and I guess just always assumed they were not allowed there. Besides the pet stores, we do have one coffee house that has an outdoor patio area and they allow pets as long as they are friendly. By the way, you might want to use a bigger font in the future as this was really hard to read. :)

  2. Hi Judy. Our trainer told us about Lowes. Give it a try with your two shibas! Thanks for the feedback, I'll make the font more readable.