Canine Companion: Introducing Puppies To Sights, Smells, And Sounds Is Key
Hey, guys. We’re halfway through November, and guess what, some of you are going to go crazy with this statement, but my tree is already up. It’s been up for two weeks. We’re ready for Christmas at the Drake house. I hope the beginning of your “snow days” has been exciting.
This week I want to move into a topic that is unbelievably important but incredibly underestimated. The power of puppy socialization. Many behavioral problems dogs have as adults could be prevented by socializing them as a puppy. Yes, you can still socialize an adult but it’s a bit more difficult.
If you have a puppy, or are thinking about adopting a puppy, this article is an absolute must-read.
Whether you realize it or not, you have already started your puppy’s learning process the minute you pick her up. And, as a puppy parent, your number one job is making sure your puppy has the exposure she needs to become a well-rounded, well-behaved adult.
P.S. A little disclosure here. If your adult dog has behavioral problems, don’t get upset with yourself.
Sometimes behavioral issues result from many other factors, but for those with puppies or considering adopting puppies, this is a step that can be taken to reduce the probability of developing behavior issues.
for a Pup
Most people understand socialization as teaching a dog how to interact well with dogs and people. That’s a great start. But, socialization also means introducing puppies to as many sights, sounds, and smells as possible safely and positively.
If you live in a busy part of town, your dog should be introduced to all types of noise on a regular basis. Car noise, people talking, etc. so they aren’t afraid of those noises as they grow older.
Families who live in a rural area, farm animals, tractors, and mowers, should be introduced at a young age.
In all areas, ensuring your dog is introduced to as many people as possible. Of course after they’re vaccinated per your veterinarian’s suggestions.
Don’t overwhelm your puppy with introductions. Some puppies are afraid of everything, others are afraid of literally nothing, and many are in between.
It’s completely normal for your puppy to be fearful the first several times she’s exposed to something new.
Every puppy is unique and may show fear in different ways, but the most common signs include shaking, tucking their tail, whining, yawning, lip licking, or attempting to escape.
You can ease this experience by rewarding her with tiny treats while introducing her to everything new. This will result in a positive correlation with new experiences. If your puppy is still worried, move a little farther from the ‘new’ and try again.
Does Puppy Kindergarten Work?
We have touched on this in earlier articles, but it’s a question that is asked regularly so it should be addressed again.
In short, in my opinion, Puppy Kindergarten is an excellent idea. I no longer offer these courses due to my insanely busy schedule with the other Departments within my company, but I highly recommend DogSpeak in Lakewood, N.Y. I recommend companies who have the passion, love, and knowledge to do what’s best for your pup, and they definitely meet all of those qualifications.
Because all puppies are generally at the same level of vaccination, Puppy Kindergarten is considered a pretty safe environment. Usually, your puppy will start a ‘puppy socialization’ type class after its second round of shots.
In Puppy Kindergarten, you puppy learns how to interact with other dogs and other people while being introduced to new sights, smells, and sounds. So, you see why, in my professional opinion, Puppy Kindergarten is a great way to start your puppy off to be a well-rounded adult. You have most, if not all, of the components of socialization right there at your fingertips.
Still, even at Puppy Kindergarten, it’s up to you to keep an eye on your puppy and make sure she’s feeling comfortable at all times.
Of course, we’re professionals but you know your dog the best. And, I always prefer to have the pet parent fully involved in all aspects of their dog’s life when they work with me because their dog is their best friend- and they understand their uniqueness.
Lots of Information
I know I have given you a lot to think about. There’s quite a bit of information contained within this article. And, you probably have a ton of questions. Feel free to contact me at AmberLDrake@dogbehaviorblog.org if so.
That’s all for now.
Until next time.