3 (More) Perks Of Living With A Socially Awkward Dog

Ruby and I are both introverts and a wee bit socially awkward. Not all introverts are socially awkward, but we are lucky to be both – the double whammy. I am OK with the introvert thing: I like my introvert ways but being socially awkward is challenging for both of us at times.

Dogs are natural conversation starters and dog people are usually friendly and chatty. I am a nice person and generally friendly (from a distance), but I don’t think anyone would ever describe me as chatty. Ruby is a sweet dog, but she doesn’t always understand normal doggie social cues. We are just a little complicated sometimes.

Living with a socially awkward dog

Ruby and I are normal most of the time until we are not. And although we are not always on the same page with our social anxiety, we have learned to work together, or rather I have learned to let her issues do the talking (or not talking).

You see, there are some serious benefits to having a socially awkward dog when you are also socially awkward. For example, when faced with ‘I know you are a lovely person and mean well, but I stink at small talk‘ moments, having a socially awkward dog can be a total lifesaver! Instead of hiding in your house or ducking behind a garage, you have a legitimate excuse to politely wave and keep walking.

Living with a socially awkward dog when you are also socially awkward

3 Perks Of Living With A Socially Awkward Dog (When You Are Socially Awkward, Too)

1. You ALWAYS have an out. Dogs are instant friend makers, which is great most of the time. But sometimes we need space and quiet time. Having a dog that is socially awkward or even selectively reactive, gives you a built-in excuse to wave and keep walking. ‘Sorry, my dog is having a really bad day. Can we chat another time (like next year)?’

2. You have an excuse to walk at odd hours. Avoid the morning coffee hour or after work social scene when every dog and their charismatic guardians are out chatting and being normal. Of course, if you and your dog are feeling emotionally prepared, you can always join the fun – and then pat yourself on the back for not saying something silly, walking into a tree, or getting twisted in your dog’s leash and falling on your face.

Living with a socially awkward dog when you are also a member of the socially awkward club

3. You can use your dog as a social shield. Simply pick your dog up and carry her around with you (the real reason I always have small dogs). Your dog becomes like a superhero vest and bonus tip, you can hide behind her big head. When other dog people want to chat, simply say ‘sorry, can’t talk because I’m carrying 30 pounds of fur. Maybe another time (or not).’ And if family members come on too strong, ‘stay back, I have a dog in my arms and I know how to use her.’ Of course, this works best with small to mid-sized dogs. I wouldn’t recommend trying to pick up a Great Dane, but if you can pull that off, you are amazing.

Bonus Tip: If you can teach your dog to be socially awkward on command, all the better (just kidding, that would be wrong)

Living with a socially awkward dog when you are also a member of the socially awkward club

These tactics work equally well with friendly strangers or chatty neighbors not to mention those supportive yet exhausting family members who always want to talk at bad times like when you are awake.

Wait, there’s more, learn more about life with a socially awkward dog by reading part one and two. Stay up-to-date on our journey to be normal (as well as a whole bunch of cuteness and feel-good, inspiring rescue and adoption stories) by subscribing to our email list.

48 Comments

  1. Mark Muller
    February 28, 2018 / 6:59 am

    that was interesting to read… I think I'm a little socially awkward too… but Phenny is a social butterfly… hope we can meet us in the middle somehow LOL

  2. Kinley Westie
    February 28, 2018 / 8:48 am

    BOL!

  3. Emma
    February 28, 2018 / 11:48 am

    My mom is socially awkward unless she is withe dog people, but we girls are super social. It forces Mom to come out of her shell.

  4. Yamini MacLean
    February 28, 2018 / 11:56 am

    Hari OMInteresting… I have to say, I was never one for initiating social contact. Then Jade came into my life. Jet and Jasper were already there, but guinea pigs and cats are not known for being particularly integrative on the social scale… Jade, though, was people-mad. Total attention-seeker. I loved her dearly, so I had to go where she went. The comfort zone shrunk, and shrunk and shrunk. Now I'll say hello to any and every dog I meet – and their peeps, if they are so inclined. YAM xx

  5. Sheltie Times
    February 28, 2018 / 12:19 pm

    My social challenges are not as severe as some. When there is an activity I enjoy, a project to complete, etc. I find the experience often to be fun. I find it much more challenging when I don't share much in common with people and I really don't engage well with small talk. Where there are common bonds I find these conversations more enjoyable and easier to find things to say.As for the dogs, oddly I've never found a problem walking away with my social dog anymore than Katy my shy one. Bailey could literally draw crowds. There was something charismatic about his personality. Adults and children just seemed to need to pet him, ask questions about him, etc. Katy loved this because it meant she often was ignored, or an after though if at all, which as an introvert was perfect for her. However, when I needed to leave, I just left. I didn't owe them dog time or my time for that matter. When I'd had enough I walked away.It's easier when you are out with the dogs. My challenge is when you are at some place and it isn't working. Walking away or leaving can create awkward social/work situations. That I need better solutions for managing. It can be hard to be trapped in a small talk situation and equally awkward when you look like you have no interest in engaging in conversation. DH is much better at the social stuff than me thankfully.

  6. Brian
    February 28, 2018 / 12:31 pm

    We think you both are super special!

  7. Edie ThePug
    February 28, 2018 / 1:14 pm

    I used to be quite shy, still am to a small extent, but I have to say my dog(s) have done the opposite for me and brought me out of my shell. People tend to gravitate to me because they want to see or pet my dog, not really talk to me 😉 I have met and made many friends because of my dog and she has given me confidence that I did not have before.

  8. Tails Around the Ranch
    February 28, 2018 / 2:27 pm

    I can totally relate to your post. I can't tell you how many times I've been able to play the dog card (all legitimately). I'm sure I've missed out on 'opportunities' but so long as the dog's needs are taken care of first. I like the idea of awkward on command idea. That made me smile.

  9. Casey
    February 28, 2018 / 2:35 pm

    Hmmmm….Momma CAN pick me up, but it would be a little awkward to carry me around.

  10. Eastside Cats
    February 28, 2018 / 4:21 pm

    Geez, I've got a big mouth and can start a conversation with anyone, but that's my overcompensation for being shy as a kid. I make all kinds of plans to do things with family and friends, then sit at home and having to talk myself into getting OUT THERE. Part of being a member of a huge family; hiding was easy. Hiding with books was DA BOMB. A former supervisor enrolled me, and two of my co-workers, in a Dale Carnegie course, and it really, really HELPED!

  11. Marg
    February 28, 2018 / 4:38 pm

    We have to agree with Brian, we think you are both terrific. You all have a great day.

  12. Seville at Nerissa's Life
    February 28, 2018 / 6:16 pm

    This is VERY INTERESTIN' 'cause lots of peeps don't realize doggies can be socially awkward, just like peeps. Kitties can too, I do believe. PURRS.

  13. Bouncing Bertie
    February 28, 2018 / 6:17 pm

    So I am definitely an introvert, and intermittently socially awkward. I'm not a great initiator of small talk, but I happily follow if someone else takes the lead (as they often do when I am out and about with Bertie). A gentleman living opposite me is famously shy, but in the last couple of months, since he acquired a puppy (a lovely black lab called Angus) we have conversed more than we ever managed in the past 18 years!Cheers, Gail.

  14. The Swiss Cats
    February 28, 2018 / 6:24 pm

    Interesting ! It looks like each of you is special, and that you make a wonderful team together. Purrs

  15. Madi and Mom
    February 28, 2018 / 6:27 pm

    Ruby darlin' it is ok we are who we are and those who love us love us for that very reason. What a great post and so well explained and writtenHugs madi your bfffPS I'm feeling much better today and eating well!

  16. ♥♥ The OP Pack ♥♥
    February 28, 2018 / 6:36 pm

    BOL – Mom has an interesting situation. We have Lightning who sees one bike on his walk and then thinks anything coming near him has to be an evil bike, even if it is a jogger or walker or nothing but a sign on the side of the road. Get me as far away as fast as you can, Mom. And then you have Misty and Timber who think EVERYONE who is within their sight HAS to pay attention to them. They both thrive on being acknowledged. It can sure make for some challenging walks:)Woos – Lightning, Misty, and Timber

  17. Bella Roxy & Macdui
    February 28, 2018 / 6:40 pm

    We go for walks at odd times. And use 'one bites' to keep going.

  18. Harvey and Marjorie at DashKitten.com
    February 28, 2018 / 7:33 pm

    Anyone who wears that cool jumper is not socially awkward! Go pup GO!!!!!!We don't do socially awkward, you either like us or you don't. Life is too short to stress, and our cats and pups are great ice breakers for those who are shy. Life is to be lived, not worried about (and a warm jumper helps!)

  19. Mama and da DB Boyz
    February 28, 2018 / 7:51 pm

    Arty, Jakey and I totally, I mean TOTALLY relate! I think Rosy may push me out of my comfort zone…she's becoming quite the social butterfly!

  20. Jan K
    February 28, 2018 / 8:28 pm

    Luke is my excuse to only walk in our own woods on our trails, when the truth is, I'm just as happy doing that anyway!He's also my excuse to discourage too much company at the house.Ruby and Luke could probably write their own series "The Joys of Having an Introvert for a Mom". 🙂

  21. Lifewithmutts
    February 28, 2018 / 8:31 pm

    I love your "socially awkward" posts! This is so cute. I definitely have used my dogs to get out of awkward social situations. LOL

  22. Ruth Epstein
    February 28, 2018 / 8:46 pm

    Great points and I think that is why I love to go to the park for example with Layla is that I go at times when there are less people as I love to sit alone on a blanket and just chill out. Layla is quite happy to sit or lie there with me, she does not play with dogs and even on walks will just walk past them when they want to smell her. I call her snobbish LOL.So I fully understand you big time. I love my bubble, just me and Layla

  23. Lessons From A Paralyzed Dog
    February 28, 2018 / 8:52 pm

    Your post hit home. My dog Bailey and I are socially awkward. Like you, I use my dog to duck out of conversations. Great post!

  24. Cathy Armato
    February 28, 2018 / 9:03 pm

    This is so funny! You two are a perfect pair, aren't you? Don't try to change, you are both perfect just the way you are! I am loving all the great sweaters Ruby has been wearing this Winter, she looks so cute!Love & Biscuits,Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Themp.s. my nickname was always Chatty Cathy – I'm sure you can understand why, LOL!!

  25. da tabbies o trout towne
    February 28, 2018 / 9:20 pm

    ruby….ask rosie de boss; her noez wear we come frum on thiz…..mor often N knot… iz good ta be social lee awkward….

  26. Michelle & The Paw Pack
    February 28, 2018 / 9:24 pm

    I can totally relate to this! The funny thing is that my first dog, who I've had for 9 years now, is a total social butterfly. He LOVES everyone and everything. Having to walk him daily, in a busy city, really helped me with my social anxiety. I actually got pretty good at dealing with talking with random people, something I had always loathed in the past. Then enter dog two, who is pretty much me in dog form – crazy anxiety and all. He's afraid of people and dogs he doesn't know. I found walking him to be a huge challenge, especially at first, because now instead of having to deal with being friendly with strangers (ahh) I had to learn to stand up for myself and tell them to leave us alone. That, for me, is even harder sometimes than being friendly.

  27. Jan
    February 28, 2018 / 9:54 pm

    It is all right to have a slightly different drummer

  28. LP
    February 28, 2018 / 10:01 pm

    Our Mama is an introvert but she does like to discuss animals so that helps when she is out and about with the pups! BUT, she easily and effortlessly uses the pets as a reason to get home early when she absolutely cannot get out of a social engagement. To hear her talk, you would think the dogs would destroy the entire contents of the house and the cats would climb the curtains, if her absence from the house was prolonged! ;pthe critters in the cottage xo

  29. Jana Rade
    February 28, 2018 / 10:48 pm

    I love how you came up with positive points. I get along with people but I am not the type who'd seek people to interact with. For Jasmine's sake, though, I was chasing people with dogs all over the place and then force myself on them so Jasmine would have a dog to hang out with. The things one does for love.

  30. Melissa, Mudpie and Angel Truffles (Mochas, Mysteries and Meows)
    February 28, 2018 / 11:55 pm

    I love this! I'm a socially awkward cat mom 🙂

  31. The Island Cats
    February 28, 2018 / 11:56 pm

    Interesting. Makes me want to get a dog. ~Island Cat Mom

  32. Montecristo Travels
    March 1, 2018 / 12:17 am

    We are introvert socialites. You can imagine the odd disconnect there. So we love to socialize (but hate small talk) and we like seeing people (but given the option love being alone) … AAAACK the duality! At least in your case it's clear. LOL

  33. Caren Gittleman
    March 1, 2018 / 2:20 am

    I loved this!! I loved it because I also have a "socially awkward" dog. I always say Dakota is more of a feline than our Cody is. It IS DAKOTA who takes his time warming up to certain people and other dogs. He is NOT a fan of most dogs…….Dakota's favorite dogs are small dogs that ignore him. Those he likes lol. He takes his time warming up to people too………(I LOVE that he is like that)….it is our Cody who is a "people" cat…..Cody has to greet everyone………I often think that the "socially awkward" dogs are actually more intelligent because they are selective! DakotasDen

  34. pilch92 15andmeowing
    March 1, 2018 / 2:47 am

    I am an introvert so I stick with cats so I don't have to go for a wall, well, I am lazy too 🙂

  35. Foley Monster, Pocket and River Song
    March 1, 2018 / 3:10 am

    I agree and I have done the same thing. Little dogs do protect us. Both Pocket and I don't do well in social situations. Her barking helps too

  36. Sandy Kubillus
    March 1, 2018 / 3:18 am

    Buffy is fairly friendly, but when I had Chipper, I could never stop and talk with people because all he did was bark. It's very hard to have a conversation above barking!

  37. meowmeowmans
    March 1, 2018 / 3:57 am

    Well, for whatever it's worth, we think you and Ruby are awesome!

  38. Irene
    March 1, 2018 / 3:59 am

    I'm an introvert too and I have a weird sense of humor, so I'm sociable at work, but I have no desire to socialize with large groups of co-workers after work, like at the pay day "stress buster" happy hour. I have used my dogs as an excuse for not going every time someone specifically invites me. Gosh, I just can't. I have to get home to walk my dogs. Daily exercise is important for them!

  39. Beth Patterson
    March 1, 2018 / 4:41 am

    Let's just say I identify too well with these problems/excuses! Thanks for sharing your perspective!

  40. Tenacious Little Terrier
    March 1, 2018 / 4:47 am

    I have not thought about training Mr. N to be socially awkward! It might be quite difficult. He really likes going up to people for attention and will invite himself to picnics and gatherings.

  41. Fashion Beyond Forty
    March 1, 2018 / 5:14 am

    First I must say Ruby is a lovely pup and I love her sweater! Link is sitting here with me as I read the post and am commenting and he says Ruby is PAWSOME! He is not socially awkward but our Lyla sure is. I love your 3 Perks of living with a socially awkward dog!

  42. Monika
    March 1, 2018 / 12:54 pm

    I would fit in great with you two, with my social awkwardness 🙂

  43. Millie and Walter
    March 1, 2018 / 2:47 pm

    Millie and Walter are both social butterflies. They think everyone in sight must want to meet and pet them. We humans don't mind engaging them whenever they meet someone. Having mutts there are always questions of heritage to answer. Ruby is such a cute model in her sweater I (mom Cindy) would have a tough time not wanting to meet her if I ran into you on the street.

  44. Robin
    March 1, 2018 / 4:43 pm

    You have some great points here! It sounds like Ruby is the perfect companion for you. 🙂 I'm a socially awkward person too. People tend to think I'm a social butterfly, but that simply isn't true. I say some of the dumbest things to people when trying to engage in small talk! My kitties are a bit socially awkward, but that rarely helps me since they don't travel with me very often. Maybe I need a socially awkward dog too! LOL

  45. Dolly theDoxie
    March 1, 2018 / 5:08 pm

    You are being ridiculous! But funny! I think you should try hanging out with Taffy she loves everyone especially kids! Which I don't so whenever I see kids heading towards me and Dolly I just say she's afraid of kids or she's protective and may snap. Keeps the kids away! So, maybe we do have more in common! Sandra and Dolly

  46. Momma Kat and Her Bear Cat
    March 2, 2018 / 8:23 am

    "We are just a little complicated sometimes." We love you both and we think both of you are pretty darn perfect. Nothing to be ashamed of – and the fact that you share the trait makes you feel less alone – while challenging you.

  47. Katie Isabella
    March 3, 2018 / 2:51 pm

    Was shy as a child and teen …even as a young married woman. But when I went into my career I was forced to adapt. I forced myself and a dear dear woman friend browbeats me into greeting people and acknowledging them. Getting promoted forced me to REALLY get out there in a manner of speaking. Now you can't shut me up. Katie's blog features dogs I meet on my daily walks and I enjoy petting (after asking) them and talking to their pawrents.

  48. Three Chatty Cats
    March 7, 2018 / 10:30 pm

    I'm a socially awkward person and I have a socially awkward dog. We make quite the awkward pair. 🙂

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