“Great” Compliments and Other Dog-Socializing Tips Courtesy of Susan Orlean

Author Susan Orlean, who released her latest book, Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend last week with Simon & Schuster, has some tips...

Tamara Palmer  |  Oct 6th 2011


Author Susan Orlean, who released her latest book, Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend last week with Simon & Schuster, has some tips on socializing dogs in her latest “Free Range” column for the New Yorker.

Orlean moved from having acreage in New York’s Hudson Valley to the more city-dense Los Angeles, where her dog, Ivy, is reveling in all the new friends she’s made at the Laurel Canyon dog park.

Drawing upon her time as a dog owner in Manhattan before she moved to the more suburban Hudson Valley, Orlean came to remember seven key rules of etiquette when introducing your pooch to the playground. Her list touches on introductions, cellphone use (don’t be deep in convo if your little dear is a little terror), and how to handle what might be a grade-school clique (just deal).

Some examples from the woman herself:

1. Ask the dogs name, never the owners name.

2. For some reason, every single request for the name of the dog is immediately followed by an inquiry about the age of the dog. I have no idea why, but believe me, this is true.

3. Compliment every dog on its beauty. If the dog is one-eyed, three-legged, gap-toothed, and mangy, make your compliment more fulsome. Having trouble thinking of a way to effuse about a pug-ugly mutt? Just remember, no one ever tires of hearing how great a face their dog has. Remember: great sounds really good without having a specific definition.

Read more of Orlean’s dog park tips over here.

Our favorite tip? How every dog deserves a compliment, and if you happen to encounter a pup you might not find to be the cutest, use the word “great” to describe its face. We can think of a few instances where this would have served us well.

Tell us, Dogsters, what is the most valuable social lesson you’ve learned at the dog park?

[Source: New Yorker]