Saturday, May 8, 2010

Socializing Puppies With People

Raising the perfect dog takes planning. 
The early weeks with a new puppy are consumed with socialization to this big world. If we want our dog to be comfortable with something, the pup must meet it.
Meet & greets with children of as many age groups as possible are important. When we go to the park with a puppy, it becomes a child magnet. The important part is supervising the activity. A child, who is afraid of dogs may put their hand out to pet the puppy only to pull it back triggering the pup to try to grab the child's hand in its mouth. After a few times of that you end up with a pup that grabs kids hands. This is important to my dog's future, so when I come across a child who is afraid; I think it is better to move on with my puppy.
It's a valuable lesson for puppies to learn to run with children, so they don't chase them later. This means running with one child and groups of kids.
Dogs need to be comfortable around people in wheel chairs or who walk with canes. Now is the time for meet & greets. I find that if we take the pup to the bicycle path, exposure to people on bikes covers the wheel chair situation rather well.
Our puppies go to greet people in the parking lots of super markets. The more types of people a puppy meets, the better. I don't want my dog to bark at men in hats because my puppy never met any. We don't smoke, so I've seen my dogs curl their lips when a smoker reaches out to pet them. Try explaining to someone that the dog wasn't growling at them, but just didn't like the smell of their hand.
Summer outdoor concerts, sports events, fourth of July fireworks are great places to go to get a puppy to learn that it can handle this great big world.
We like our dogs to be able to go with us as many places as they are allowed.
Well socialized puppies make well behaved dogs.

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