One of OhMyDog’s bombproofing exercises (i.e. how to give you a worldly dog that won’t bat an eyelid if a helicopter landed on your roof).
This week was dress-up day: we all wore funny masks and and hats and uniforms and did the course as we usually do. As soon as a dog would notice (BUT NOT MIND!) the weird attire, we’d say ‘yes’, give a reward, and walk away.
This is the key to preventing neophobia (a dog scared of anything unfamiliar): expose him to something incongruous in a benign way. Give him tons of choice about how close he wants to be to the strange thing, and associate exposure to it with something amazing like a treat, given even further away from the weird thing.
The key here is: introduce the dog to the new thing at such a distance/intensity that he/she dog notices, but does not mind.
If you push it too far, the dog doesn’t get used to it but will become more and more nervous.
So one more time altogether for the golden rule of socialisation: “The dog notices but does – not – mind”
Happy socialisation everyone!by