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Karlin
8th January 2008, 12:44 PM
So many people have new puppies here that I thought this latest training tip from the free Whole Dog Journal newsletter service was well worth posting. Early and proper socialising is so important! I highly recommend a subscription to the journal or at least, sign up for these newsletters!

Link for this one: http://www.whole-dog-journal.com/newsletters/puppies/socializing_dog_puppy.html


Socializing Your New Dog or Puppy

Dogs who are confident, comfortable, and safe in public are made, not born. Here’s how to socialize your new puppy

Call it Puppy Love.
The best socialization programs begin while pups are still with their dams. A good breeder begins handling her pups gently and early giving them a positive association with human touch. As they get a little older (5-6 weeks) they should start meeting more humans – all shapes, colors, ages, and sizes – who feed them treats and pet them gently.

By the time a pup is weaned at 7-8 weeks, he should already have a positive worldview programmed into his little puppy brain. Select the pup who is outgoing without being overbearing – the one who seems to have a cheerful, “Life is good!” attitude.

You must continue your pup’s socialization lessons assiduously until he is 16 weeks old, and then maintain his positive association to the world throughout his life.

A Dog Who Plays Well With Others.
Purposely exposing your puppy or new dog to other friendly dogs is the best way to teach them critical social skills. Such playtime gives your puppy the opportunity to learn how to talk and read “dog-ese.” If this doesn’t happen during the pup’s critical learning period, well before the age of six months, you may end up with a canine social nerd whose inept use of the dog’s physical and postural language consistently gets him trouble because he sends inappropriate messages or fails to respond appropriately to another dog’s message.

The following steps can maximize his opportunities for socialization while minimizing his exposure to disease: DO keep him current on his vaccination schedule.

DO invite friends over with their healthy puppies and gentle adult dogs to play with your puppy.
DO enroll your puppy as soon as possible in a well-run puppy class where classmates are allowed to play together. Most trainers require proof of vaccinations for all participants.
DO talk to the trainer and watch the class first. Puppy play should be closely monitored to avoid bullying of small or timid puppies by bigger, older ones. The facility should be clean indoors and out, and training techniques involving the use of choke chains, prong collars or physical force should not be permitted.
DO intervene if another puppy starts to bully yours. A pup can learn to be defensively aggressive if he is frightened by the intensity of another pup’s play.
DO intervene if your puppy starts to bully another. A gentle interruption of the behavior every time it occurs combined with brief time-outs if necessary, offset by praise and treat rewards when he is playing well with others, can keep him on the right track.
DON’T intervene if two pups are engaged in mutually agreeable rough play. Rough play is perfectly acceptable if both pups are enjoying it.
Do keep an eye on the participants to make sure they are both having fun, and gently intervene if the tone of play starts to change.
DON’T take your puppy to dog parks or public areas where lots of dogs congregate. He faces a much greater risk of exposure to disease in those environments.
DON’T allow your pup to interact with any dogs or puppies who don’t appear healthy, and don’t allow the owners of sick dogs or puppies to play with yours.

If you follow these simple guidelines, your chances of having a well socialized dog are high, and your disease risk is very low. Remember: Far more dogs face tragic ends to their lives due to poor socialization than to illnesses encountered in well-monitored puppy play groups.