Dog Socialization Success Story: Berlin and Buses
When I adopted my dog, Berlin, in the Summer of 2010 I was excited and overwhelmed. This was my first dog as an adult; A living creature I was responsible for day in and day out. Would she eat my couch? Pee on my bed? Attack the cat? Though I didn’t know her at all, despite my fears, I immediately loved her.
She was mine and I was hers.
Our first two years together, we lived in downtown Los Angeles, a bustling city center.
I quickly realized that Berlin was afraid of buses.
Like, run away at full speed, twist and turn, get me out of here afraid. This had to be addressed.
From the start, I knew we had to work at Berlin’s pace. If I expected too much and didn’t listen to her, our new relationship would deteriorate and her anxiety would escalate. The worst-case scenario can happen, but I wanted to diminish the likelihood that it would happen to us.
So, we trained together every day, building our connection and establishing our communication, addressing her panic when appropriate.
It took time, understanding, determination, and patience, but we were able to completely eliminate her fear of buses.
The fact that she could overcome this is really quite remarkable and illustrates just one of the qualities I admire in dogs: trust.
This experience really bonded Berlin and I as a unit, and we continue to nurture our relationship, even today. I set clear guidelines, teach her things I want her to know, and build her vocabulary so she can understand my expectations.
Sometimes I get flashbacks to those early days though. On more than one occasion when Berlin and I have been out for a walk or run, a bus is already speeding away from us before I realize I haven’t checked in with her. My heart starts to race and I inevitably look down to see her trotting along, tongue and ears flapping in the wind without a care.
She knows I got her back.
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