Puppy Socialization. . .
. . .is one of the most critically important aspects of helping your puppy learn to be a well-adjusted, confident dog. It will help “vaccinate” your puppy against unreasonable fears and phobias. The opposite of a fearful dog is a relaxed, confident dog. The opposite of an aggressive dog is a relaxed, confident dog.
This is why DOGTRAIN considers lack of confidence in a puppy not just an inconvenience, but a MAJOR EMERGENCY!
Up to the age of 20 weeks, the window of opportunity is wide open to habituate puppies to new things. After that age, habituation is not impossible, but it gets much more difficult. From your dog’s perspective, if he hasn’t needed to know about something new so far, why start now?
Your mission in puppyhood is to introduce your puppy to as many different things as you can. Each new introduction should be paired with some sort of positive benefit (special treats, play) for your puppy when you do this. We encourage you to get your puppy out into as many different situations as possible after he has received his 16-week vaccinations from your veterinarian.
Puppy Social. . .
. . .in your class will be monitored very closely by your instructor for signs of undue pushiness in some, and undue fearfulness in others. As a general rule, during your four weeks in class you will see all the puppies start to play better with each other; bullies will start to ease up as wallflowers begin to gain confidence. Puppy Social is one of the easiest ways to identify potential problems in temperament as well as the best way to teach owners how to work through those problems. While your puppy is enrolled in Puppy PreSchool you are invited to join our DOGTRAIN DogPark playgroups at no charge. We have three playgroups a week open to all size, all age dogs and one specifically set up for small dogs. These playgroups are restricted to DOGTRAIN students, past or present. Once your puppy has graduated from Puppy PreSchool you are still welcome at our playgroups at nominal charge. Ask your instructor for more information.
Learning how to play well with others is a useful life skill taught at DOGTRAIN. Dogs who learn to behave well in the company of other dogs usually learn to behave better in the company of people. Every bite that your puppy gives to another puppy is one a member of your family won’t have to take. While “jaw-wrestling,” with each other, puppies learn that biting hurts! If they bite other puppies too hard they may end up with no one to play with, or may just find they have met up with someone who can bite harder.
Everyone in class (or at playgroup) is discouraged from petting puppies that jump up and encouraged to reward puppies who keep “four on the floor” or sit. It is amazing how fast puppies will learn to run up to people and sit if they are rewarded with attention or treats for doing so!
For puppies who may be spooky or uncertain about interacting with humans with whom they are unfamiliar, Puppy Social and the regular playgroups can be invaluable in helping your puppy learn about how nice people can be. Many of our human students who continue to bring their graduates to the DOGTRAIN DogPark get a great deal of pleasure in helping nervous puppies (and their nervous owners) overcome their shyness. These students have learned how to encourage our “problem children” without inadvertently rewarding them for shyness or by putting too much pressure on them to be friendly.
It does the shy puppy no favors to shelter him from the things in life he may find upsetting, as “life happens.” It is no fun for your puppy to be afraid, and can have damaging effects on his long-term health and well being. Dogs reacting out of fear rather than viciousness bite the majority of people (especially children!). Do the very best you can to expand your pup’s concept of what will represent “normal” in your lives together.
List four reasons to socialize your puppy with other dogs and people:
The complete guide is available to buy for: $16.00. Contact us to request a copy.