Dog Socialisation is the buzz word currently. Pet carnivals, pet fairs, brunches with and for pets are coming up in a big way. It’s a great way for people to move out with their pets on a Saturday or a Sunday as the parents feel less guilty about having fun on their own while thier pet stays back. While it’s a great idea to do that, there a few experiences that people have shared which makes us a wee bit uncomfortable with such events and it makes us ask a question – is the event for pets to socialise or for humans to socialise.
Here are a few points to consider before heading out for such events-
1. Organising committee – is it an event management company or a pet professional.
2. Free play and/or on leash – do pets have an off leash option, obviously, if they are friendly. If not, is the space large enough for each to get their own space?
3. Is there music? If yes, how loud? – Does your pet scare very easily with crackers and traffic noise? In such a case a small space and loud music can be a disaster from your pets POV. Sounds do cause discomfort since the volume we hear is multiplied hundred times for their ears specially when it is too loud. Dogs panic and hence we might actually teach them to either flight or fight. Such inner conflicts causes stress and the purpose of the event is lost if the end result is a stressed dog!
4. First aid- at the registration desk ask if there is first aid available for pets and humans.
5. What’s in it for the pet? Is it a pet centric activity like games, free play, agility, socialisation activities for the pet? Or is it a shopping carnival for humans with pet accessories and pet food stalls.
6. Activity Orientation – Make sure the activities selected for your dogs takes your dog as close as possible to nature letting them explore their natural instincts and feeling satiated and satisfied mentaly too.
A friendly, social pet will do well in any environment. The worry is the pet who is nervous and anxious. Any such event might trigger the pet to be even more anxious and nervous.
Today, the choice is plenty for such events. So choose what’s closer to enjoyment for your pet. Open spaces, free runs, water bodies where they get to be themselves. Choose an event where the pet feels comfortable and confident. It could be a leashed or an unleashed event. Sometimes as event organisers it becomes difficult to get all pets off the leash as temperaments are unknown. But make sure they get the space and right exposure.
Lets not try and humanize our pets by doing activities which we think can bring about the best in our pets. Closer you keep them to nature the better sense of balance they achieve:)
This article has been jointly written by Shalaka Mundada, Owner PetSitters, a premier pet kennel and pet event organiser and Priti Chauhan, Canine Trainer and Behaviourist.