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NEW PUP AT Home (socialisation)
#1
Socialization Tips and Puppy Training Pointers for New Puppy Owners 

Socialization and puppy training are of utmost importance as puppyhood is the most important and critical time in your dog’s development. What you do and do not do right now will affect your dog’s behavior forever.

A properly socialized puppy is well adjusted and makes a good companion. It is neither frightened by nor aggressive towards anyone or anything it would normally meet in day to day living. An un-socialized dog is untrustworthy and an unwanted liability. They often become fear-biters. Often they like to fight with other dogs. They are difficult to train and are generally unpleasant to be around. Unsocialized dogs cannot adapt to new situations and a simple routine visit to the vet is a nightmare not only for the dog itself, but for everyone involved. Don’t let this happen to you and your dog. Start socializing your new puppy NOW!

The Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine agrees that the socialization period lasts up to about 12 weeks (3 months) of age. However, at 12 weeks, the puppy must continue socialization to refine its social skills. Socialization most easily occurs before the puppy is 3 months old. Any later than that and it becomes an excruciatingly difficult and time-consuming process that very few owners have the time, energy, money or patience to cope with. Poorly socialised pups have long lasting psychological problems, they usually come from breeders that have no kids, poor ideas of social hierarchy and puppy farms.They also come from homes that let pups go between 6 weeks and 7 weeks, even though it is illegal in the UK now.

Socialization Do’s

Make sure that each of the following events are pleasant and non-threatening. If your puppy’s first experience with something is painful and frightening, you will be defeating your purpose. In fact, you will be creating a phobia that will often last a lifetime. It’s better to go too slow and assure your puppy is not frightened or injured than to rush and force your pup to meet new things and people.

* Invite friends over to meet your pup. Include men, women, youngsters, oldsters, different ethnic backgrounds, etc.

* Invite friendly, healthy, vaccinated dogs, puppies and even cats to your home to meet and play with your new puppy. Take your puppy to the homes of these pets, preferably with dog-friendly cats.

* Carry your pup to shopping centers, parks, school playgrounds, etc; places where there are crowds of people and plenty of activity.

* Take your puppy for short, frequent rides in the car.Stop the car and let your puppy watch the world go by through the window.

* Introduce your puppy to umbrellas, bags, boxes, the vacuum cleaner, etc. Encourage your puppy to explore and investigate his environment.

* Get your puppy accustomed to seeing different and unfamiliar objects by creating your own. Set a chair upside down. Lay the trash can (empty) on its side, set up the ironing board right-side up one day and upside down the next day.

* Introduce your puppy to new and various sounds.Loud obnoxious sounds should be introduced from a distance and gradually brought closer. Tell the pup what it is, bike, car, etc .

* Accustom your puppy to being brushed, bathed, inspected, having its nails clipped, teeth and ears cleaned and all the routines of grooming and physical examination.

* Introduce your puppy to stairs, his own collar and leashIntroduce anything and everything you want your puppy to be comfortable with and around.

Socialization Don’ts

* Do not put your puppy on the ground where unknown animals have access. This is where your puppy can pick up diseases. Wait until your puppy’s shots are completed. Do not let your pup socialize with dogs that appear sick or dogs that you don’t know, that may not be vaccinated.

* Do not reward fearful behavior. In a well meaning attempt to sooth, encourage or calm the puppy when it appears frightened, we often unintentionally reward the behavior. It’s normal for the puppy to show some signs of apprehension when confronting anything new and different.

* Do not allow the experience to be harmful, painful or excessively frightening. This can cause lifetime phobias in your dog.

* Do not force or rush your puppy. Let your puppy take things at his own pace. Your job is to provide the opportunity.

* Do not do too much at one time. Young puppies need a lot of sleep and tire quickly. It is much more productive to have frequent and very brief exposures than occasional prolonged exposures.

* DO NOT WAIT! Every day that goes by is an opportunity of a lifetime that is lost forever. You can never get these days back. If socialization does not happen now, it never will. Part of a pups brain actually closes down at 8 weeks as such , whatever they haven learned then through socialisation can never be regained.

Is Shyness a Problem or Not?

It is natural for some dogs to be shy of things that are new and unfamiliar. During development, a dog becomes socialised with familiar people, animals, objects and situations. But they will still tend to shy away from the unfamiliar. Shyness in itself is not a problem. It is only a problem if the dog’s shyness inhibits your lifestyle or if the dog develops other problems related to shyness such as fear biting. Shy dogs often bolt when frightened, endangering themselves by running blindly into danger, such as traffic.

Training Your Dog or Puppy to be Shy

In a well meaning attempt to calm their dog’s fears, many people end up actually reinforcing the dog’s shy behavior. In effect, the owner inadvertently trains the dog to be more fearful. Be careful not to reinforce your dog’s fearfulness by offering reassurance. When our timid dog hides, barks defensively, whines, screams or snaps, our response is only natural. Our protective instincts cause us to reassure the dog by talking soothingly, petting or even picking up the dog for a hug. These actions flagrantly reward the dog for fearful behavior. It is best to just completely ignore your dog when he acts fearful. Let him learn by his own experience that there is nothing to be afraid of. Save your praise and reassurance for times when your dog acts with confidence.

Shyness, Fear and Socialization

Many people try to rehabilitate their dog too quickly, forcing him to socialize with other dogs and people. This usually reinforces the dog’s view that other dogs and people are frightening. On the one hand, the dog needs to be socialized as quickly as possible, but on the other hand, he should not be forced into it. If you push your dog to do too much too soon, your dog will only become more fearful and may be forced into a situation where he feels he must defend himself. Socializing a dog and helping him build his confidence is a time consuming task. Thrusting him into the arms of every visitor and dragging him out to socialize with many other dogs can be counter-productive. Strangers should never be allowed to approach your dog to pet him. It should always be left to your dog to make the first contact. If your dog does not want to approach, that is OK. Just give him plenty of time to ‘hide and peek’ and eventually he will come out of hiding. It’s up to you to provide ample opportunity for socialization, but it is up to the dog to proceed at his own pace. Don’t verbally try to encourage him out of hiding. He will probably interpret your encouragement as praise for hiding. Don’t try to force him to come out, this will only frighten him even more.

Fearful Snapping, Growling and Aggression

Shy or fearful dogs can react defensively when approached by unfamiliar people. They may try to keep strangers away by growling, snarling or snapping. These behaviors must not be ignored. No dog should be allowed to get away with acting aggressively towards humans. The fact that your dog is shy is no excuse to condone growling or biting. You must instantly and effectively reprimand such behavior. As soon as your dog stops acting aggressive, it is essential that you praise him. We do not want your dog to think that the presence of the stranger brings on the reprimand, but that his own obnoxious behavior causes you to get angry. If it is ever necessary for you to reprimand aggressive tendencies in your shy dog, you have probably been trying to push him along too quickly. Avoid similar threatening situations until your dog has developed sufficient confidence to deal with them without resorting to aggression. Do not allow strangers to reprimand your fearful or shy dog.
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