If you recently got a puppy or are planning on it, I hope you’ve heard that the most important thing to do with it, besides loving it, feeding it, getting it outside fast enough and often enough to pee and poo and keeping it from chewing up your entire wardrobe, is to socialize it.
Simply put this means exposing and introducing your pup to as many new experiences and people as you possibly can. And the first four months of your dogs life is the most important time to do this. For the reasons why, listen to the episode of the Raising Your Paws podcast, #8.
Let’s talk about exposing your puppy to new people. You want to take your dog to places where they will see as wide a variety of different age groups, sizes, sexes, shapes, colors and gaits of people as possible. Yes, you’ll be planning a lot of short field trips to go visit people and taking walks around the neighborhood so that your puppy walks by a lot of different types of people.
What do you actually do with your puppy once you get there or when they meet someone new? When visiting, you want the experience to be overall positive so a bit of play, petting and gentle handling by others is involved. The best thing single thing to do is plan to have everyone that meets your dog, hand feed it. Take small tasty treats with you, and give a bit to the teenagers you meet on your walk, or the man in the baseball cap and sunglasses and let them feed a bit to your dog. Do the same thing for the children who want to come up and pat your dog. For younger children you will want to assist with the feeding. If your dog is not food motivated, but loves toys and balls, then the people can use the favorite toy to play with the puppy.
If you cant actually have the person hand feed, such as when your dog sees the UPS delivery person going next door, or when someone is walking by using crutches, then you feed them a treat as near by the person as is feasible. This also works for the bikes and skateboarders going by and is the method to use for babies as well. Simply feed a treat to your puppy as they are sniffing near the infant.
When I started walking Rosy around the neighborhood in the first weeks after adopting her, each time we got closer to the person coming towards us on the sidewalk, before they passed by us, I said her name, got her attention and fed her a treat as the person walked by.
For a more detailed description of this method and more information about socialization, I highly recommend, Jean Donaldson’s book, The Culture Clash.
Speaking of puppies, NutriSource Pet Foods has new puppy food flavors! In addition to our regular chicken flavor for both small/medium and large breed puppies, we now have turkey, grain free puppy food.
Greeting a new dog.
Were you taught that when approaching a new dog, to first, hold your hand out for the dog to sniff? Have you taught your kids this?
Did you know that this method is the number one thing that can actually provoke a dog to feel threatened which may result in them biting?
Yikes!!! Don’t worry. Teach yourself and your children the correct and safe way to meet new dogs.
Here is a great poster created by the late Dr. Sophia Yin, that shows the correct way greet an unfamiliar dog.
You can also download the poster for yourself and get copies.
In this week’s podcast, I spoke about paying attention to a cat’s tail. Its various positions can tell you a lot about how the cat is feeling. To supplement the episode, here is little video showing you cat tail positions.
Resources for the podcast episode #10 Title: Dogs Who Help Keep Hotels Free of Bedbugs & The Correct, Safer Way to Greet an Unfamiliar Dog.
Website for Dog For Defense Inc. website, http://www.dogsfordefense.us/
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