Why dogs sitting on a bench together has so many dog social implications on a dog walkThe dogs on the Healthy Dog Treat bench are: From left to right: Amy, Archie, Sniffy, Tilly, Apache, Bruce and Kooper.
So what might this have to do with anything besides a local record?
Well besides a 'neat' picture, the park bench has turned out to be one of the favourites of the pack and me.
In this photo you will see two dogs on lead. One because he is anxious (was a rescue dog and not sufficiently socialised before or after the new owners got him) and the chihhuhua has been a house dog for a long time and only just learning about off lead dog parks (much higher anxiety).
By the dogs travelling to the park together in my car (all properly restrained via their car harness) and sitting on this seat together, it is showing a level of tollerance that many people pressed together on trains in melbourne dont exhibit.
Dogs are a pack animal, but untiil they are socialized enought, their fear of the unknown, gives an anxierty level that can create fight or flight situations. All of these dogs here are past that, and even the simple act of being together, as a pack on the seat helps reinforce that in thei brain.
Its true that any dog group coming together for the first time, even if from different walkers and only for a short while will form some kind of pack bond. But the pack the dogs walk with will always be a stronger one agaqin, even if its only twice or three times a week.
Having my dog pack on the seat gets them to stop what they are doing (exploring) and concentrate on what the dog walker (me) is telling them to do. They have a high expectation that it will end in a dog treat, but they only get a few small pieces of highly nutritious Healthy Dog Treats beef liver, not a meal.
Having this pack sit on the seat and watch each other eat, and wait their turn is one of the biggest things you can ask any dog to do, particularly if it is not fully social. Some dogs will be food guarders and really struggle with this exercise (none of these dogs are food guarders). Some dogs are still learning to be social in out of house situations such as the Chihuahua here and for a long time he would not take a treat in front of the other dogs.
People will excuse their dog and say that they don't like beef liver, but that is like saying dogs don't like water. The only reason I have seen 99.9% of dogs not take liver is through anxiety - fear of eating in front of the pack. They think that they will be attacked for a scarce food source - THIS doesn't happen in a social pack, and when they learn that and they start accepting treats, they are well on the way toward being social and allowed off lead.
Some dogs will try and scoff their dog treats, and be a danger to the human feeder, we teach dogs to take their treat more carefully or not get a treat. These are just one of the many things that happen on our Melbourne dog walker dog walks that most clients never see or even think of, but make their dogs so much more social than many other dogs they will meet.