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Old 31.01.2020, 10:28
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Re: Dog Socialization a Real Problem in (Central?) Switzerland

I see many dogs on leash and most of them either ignore mine or simply stare at him as they walk past often on a loose leash. Very little aggressiveness or pulling and barking mostly comes from little dogs likely because he scares them rather than being unsocialised.

In USA dogs that become leash reactive often have e-collars and prongs collars shoved on them and I am truly thankful those barbaric devices are banned in Switzerland. I am also thankful of the many places my dog is welcome, from cafes and 5 star restaurants to hotels to the local school bus when my car broke down!

The waitress at our local cafe is scared of dogs and so we keep Axel as far away as possible and don't let him sniff or nose her. Other dog owners are not that considerate and she is fed up of hearing "he is super friendly and wants to say hello" when the dog pushes up to her. These type of owners make people not used to dogs afraid not because there as so many aggressive dogs in Switzerland.

I have only met one really aggressive dog in 10 years and it was off the leash well in front of the owner. The way it approached snarling it wasn't looking to play. I managed to get Axel to sit quietly and my son stood in front of us as the dog slowly moved forward teeth bared. Luckily the owner appeared

Socialisation means having a well rounded, confident dog who is able to cope in different circumstances. It is all too easy to over socialise a dog and flood them with too many different experiences, in which case you can end up with a fear aggressive dog.

Interacting with other dogs is only a small part of proper socialisation. You are socialising a dog just as much by allowing 2 dogs on a lead to calmly sniff each other as by off leash play. Yes, I love to see my dog happily running around playing with his doggie friends but that is supervised play under circumstances I control rather than with random strangers. Axel walks on a leash.


We have building works just past our house and have to walk within feet of it. Drilling, banging, cement mixers, men carrying planks of wood was very scary for Axel and he reacted by barking and jumping in the air when we went past. I went alone and spoke to the men and explained that he wasn't aggressive but frightened and they were very considerate in helping me get over his fear. We started by letting him sit and watch them from a distance, they have turned off the cement mixer as we walked past and try not to suddenly drop something. They have allowed him to sniff at their vehicles and tools and some have petted him. Now he pretty much ignores it when we pass.

That is socialisation although I am sure if OP had seen his first reaction he would have decided he was an aggressive dog and me an unethical owner. If I hadn't spoken with the builders they would have been scared of him.
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