5 Things I've Learned After a Decade in the Dog Business
I just realized that it's been ten years since I started my little passion project, a dog walking business called Wanderpups. Technically, our ten-year anniversary won't be until November of this year, but I can still write about a few things I've learned as a dog-centric business owner for over a decade.
1) Every dog is an individual. This one seems obvious, but i've met hundreds of dogs and no two are alike. Often, a dog's breed is a framework for their tendencies, but two golden retrievers' personalities are going to be just as distinct as the personalities of a great dane vs a chihuahua. It's important to get to know YOUR dog. Understand their triggers, their motivations, their stressors, etc. This is key to help your dog become well adjusted.
2) Most adult dogs are dog selective and that's ok. Imagine if someone expected you to like and want to socialize with every single person you met. It would be super annoying, right? Well, dogs aren't much different. Adult dogs are generally very selective in who they like and will often just want to take a sniff and be on their way. This isn't a bad trait or an antisocial dog. This is completely normal and acceptable behavior and should be respected.
3) Most dogs do not want pets from strangers. So if you've followed us on social media at all, you'll know how bent out of shape I get from this "pet all the dogs" nonsense. It seriously makes my skin crawl. Almost every adult dog I've met has little to zero interest in being pet by strangers when they are trying to enjoy their walk. Even when their owner gives permission and the dog seems friendly enough, they are generally barely tolerating it. It's like that book, "He's Just Not That Into You." You will KNOW if a dog wants pets if their loose, wiggly, tail wagging body comes barreling toward you. Otherwise, a dog will probably ignore you, or give you a quick sniff and walk away. Respect their choices and stop approaching dogs unless it's obvious they are INTO YOU.
4) You cannot socialize an adult dog. The SOCIALIZATION PERIOD for dogs closes at about four months old. If possible, it's so important to get your dog responsibly exposed to as many people, things and situations as possible before the dog turns 4 months. After that, there is desensitization and training, but SOCIALIZATION is not a thing.
5) Dogs will never poop near a trashcan. You'll pass 15 trash cans in a row when you aren't holding a bag of shit, but as soon as you have a bag of shit, there will be no trashcans in site. You will be in a trashcan desert. This is a guarantee.
Stay tuned for more things I've learned over the next few weeks!