The road to a safe and social dog

Socialization of puppies

The road to a safe and social dog

Text: Cecilie Strømstad

Today's society places almost unrealistic demands on our dogs. Dogs should not make noises, they will often not make his mark or appear, and they will certainly not show aggression in any form. How difficult it is to live up to it's hard to imagine, especially when many people perceive the dogs play, greetings and positive approaches to people aggression. This puts a great responsibility on us who have dogs, whether we are farmers or ordinary dog ​​owners. Our dogs are to function in a society where many are not wanted, they should be disciplined, silent, and social.
What I have written here is also important and useful reading for those who have problems with their dog in any way, by understanding a possible causal relationship, one can easily work out a problem.

Socialization phase
This is perhaps the most important time in your dog's life - the period begins when the puppy is still with the breeder, and continues until the puppy is 3-4 months (individual differences). During this period, puppy greatest prospects for learning to interact with others (dogs and humans) and adapt to different environments. I am not very concerned about the week that is considered for this phase, it varies from authority to authority. I confine myself to say that this phase lasts from the puppy is about 2 weeks until about 14 weeks.
There are racial differences, individual differences and differences in definition of concepts.

During this period the puppy learn:
• To be a dog with other dogs.
• To get used to being part of a human family and to socialize them in a positive way.
• Being able to associate strangers.
• Being able to travel to different places and in different environments.
This is a big task, and what you do in this first time one has salaries for the rest of the dog's life - or to turn it upside down, what you do during this time will struggle with the rest of the dog's life.

The first few weeks at the breeder
Many of these important weeks in the dog's life, spend it at the farmer's. Most puppies are with the breeder until they are about eight weeks, and then much of the socialization period reviewed. When choosing a breeder, it is very wise to be curious and find out what the farmer does in these weeks.
What are experiencing the puppies to help them in this development?

The first three weeks
The ideal is that the mother and puppies are still the first three weeks - it is a time that the puppies will eat and sleep and cared for by her mother. Farmer and his family during this period should deal with some puppies so they get used to being lifted and held, and get used to the smell of humans.
When the puppies are three weeks is a turning point in their lives, they have learned to walk, they can see, hear, eat and even to reach out and discover the world.

Other dogs
From three weeks of age and until delivery to the puppies ideally have met several dogs, and have several dogs in the family who can engage in play and parenting. It is not strictly necessary that the puppies are in contact with so many other dogs until they are eight weeks, the bit you can take when you get your puppy.
Since dogs are dogs, they learn quite easy to socialize with other dogs, while working with individuals who require more effort from the breeder page, and here it is important that things get done and taken seriously.

Different people
Puppies must be from three weeks of age have much contact with people. There must be people of different ages and of different sexes and both children and adults. Puppies need to learn that humans are a part of their world, and they come in many flavors. A puppy that has grown up in a single woman and have seen little of other people will see both men and children as "scary" things!
The puppies will also have individual human contact daily, and preferably be taken away from siblings to be alone with men.

Environmental Training
When puppies are bigger, they will also experience different environments. They are going out and looking at the world, hear sounds and they will be in the car. Very often this happens socialization training without thinking much about it. In families with children are often many children and adults on a visit that will look at the cute puppies, and if the puppy buyers live nearby, they often come to greet and then go all by themselves. The puppies will be included in the car, and they will be out when the weather permits. Many breeders have special "program" that puppies go through, and have a conscious plan week by week how puppies should be socialized as possible.
It is both racial and individual differences in how easy it is to accustom puppies to socialize with people!

How do you teach your dog to be a dog with other dogs?
The puppy should be in farmer learned some important elements of their language as a proper greeting, give and receive signals to give way to stop a threat, invite or accept invitations to play. This signals the teacher in dealing with mother, siblings and other dogs in the family. When you get your puppy in the house must from the outset let it hit the other dogs - many believe that the puppy be kept isolated from other dogs until it has received its first vaccination at three months - do you do that one has missed the most important time
in socialization compared to other dogs.

The dogs, your puppy should be with will be even old puppies or adult dogs with the correct language and rational behavior. Older puppies have no natural behavioral program for handling young puppies and may therefore be too violent! Dog The size does not matter, it's okay to let small and large races mingle - they adapt quickly to each other by telling each other what the limits are. Let the dogs meet at a place there is little traffic, where they can run, play and communicate, all dogs should be loose, and it is also advantageous to remove the collars so that no one remains trapped and frightened.
Mix your movement into the dogs' play - either stand and watch and try to learn from their interaction!

Violent games: if the toy is very wild, over time, it is best to stop it and go their separate ways.

Teach your puppy to be in peace when the other toys. Sit down with your puppy in the leash, and with some distance to the dogs as toys, wipe it gently on the chest and help it to be calm. This is important because a dog that always let loose to play with other dogs, will build up quite a lot of expectations and stress at the sight of other dogs.
This can develop into a big problem!

Unpleasant experiences
Dogs that have had strong negative experiences as puppies, which have been taken by other dogs, and where the puppy's natural subordination signals have not been respected, can be disruptive to other dogs as adults when they have been physically and mentally stronger - it is in a way as if "I take him before he takes me / attack is the best defense." Many owners of dogs who have been "bank" in this way becomes so frightened that they let their dog meet other dogs more - it will be the last experience of this dog with other dogs. It goes without saying that there are some clever solution. A dog that has experienced this must therefore have many positive experiences to make up for this one negative.
The puppy who has had a lot of positive interaction with other dogs will be much less likely to be permanently affected by a single unpleasant experience.

Greetings and passing on a leash
Your dog must learn to greet other dogs, but it must also learn that they will not greet everyone you meet - it is you who should rule.

Past: When you meet another dog that you do not want your dog to greet you should pass the other dog at a distance so that there is no opportunity to get close to it.
Talk a lot with your dog so that it looks at you, if keeping your eyes on your roses, you LOTS and pass the other dog quickly and purposefully - when the other dog is crossed with a few meters, you can stop off and play with your puppy!

Greeting Training: In almost all situations it is best that dogs do not greet each other when they are on a leash. If your dog to greet other dogs while in the band, both you and the other dog owner be far away from the dogs, the leash will be slack, and the dogs will get the rest.
Let them shake a little, and move on while you entice your dog with you, for example by keeping a tempting treat the nose of it - not the band!!

Remember that it is you who decides which dogs your puppy can meet, and which ones to pass, say this loud and clear to the other dog's owner if they try to follow you when you shy away from! Dogs should not greet every dog ​​they meet!
Both greeting and passing should be trained in controlled conditions and quite often the first time.

Understanding key signals from your dog
Flinch Signals: When your puppy to meet the adult dogs, it is natural for it to make himself small, cringe and bow their heads either down or to the side - this does not mean that it is afraid, but it gives way to the adult dog to signal that it is not a threat.
The adult dog will respect this by being gentle and careful.

Avoidance: When a dog runs away, it is because it does not want to say hello - this should be respected, and the dog should be left alone, the press never two dogs to greet or play - it's not all dogs like each other or fit together

Submission: If your dog gets a scolding from another dog, and it settles on your back or twisting your head as far away as possible and is passive, the threat cease, and the same shall your pup show such signals if another dog treats - makes
If not, it may result in conflicts.

What do we do when we encounter difficulties?
Search like the advice of experienced dog people as soon as you notice that not everything is as it should! Some dogs are afraid of strange dogs - these dogs require a lot more contact with other dogs to be able to function as adults. Remember that an adult dog that is afraid of other dogs easily resort to aggressive behavior to ward off a perceived as scary - and why it is massively important to teach the puppy that rescue dogs are not dangerous! Begin happy to go places where other dogs, and sit well away with the puppy and watch the other games. Let the frightened puppy meeting strange dogs one by one, and only dogs that are strong signal! Never push your puppy to socialize with the other dog, let it find out for myself at leisure.
A very important lesson for the frightened puppy is to overcome their fear!

Sometimes puppies scared of other dogs.
Then it is very important that it immediately will have many positive experiences with other dogs - the same reasons as above.
Some puppies have not learned the signals they should be able to socialize with other dogs, examples are: puppies storms straight to the other dogs are perceived as very rude, threatening puppies adult dogs once they meet perceived the same. Then it is important to find adult dogs who have experience of raising a puppy, and let your puppy be a lot with it / them.
For in all to be able to socialize with other dogs, they must communicate.

How should we teach the puppy to get used to being part of a human family and to socialize them in a positive way?

Language and behavior
First and foremost, it is important for people to understand that the dog is a dog, and teach us some important elements in dog language and behavior. If we do that we can show the puppy the respect it deserves, and understand what it is trying to signal to us.
Here are some important signals that are often misunderstood:

Growling: Is often a sign of uncertainty, it is a warning signal that the dog is scared, unsure, feel threatened or the like, and if what it sees as threatening persists, it may be that it will bite. Growling should never be punished - then you run the risk that the dog does not growl next time, but straight on the attack, they`ve taught that it is forbidden to warn you!
Try rather to understand what the dog perceives as threatening, and make your dog safe!

Yawning, looking away, sniffing the ground: all these signals are from the dog's side trying to calm you or other dogs / people in their surroundings, there is no sign that the dog is bored, challenging or defiant!

It is actually more important than many think to learn this, it has shown that puppies being fucked by their owners, where the owner has ignored the dog submissive renewal signals and continue to threaten (which is easily done by what many perceived as normal upbringing of the puppy) can be disruptive to other dogs as adults - and this is one of the most common problem dog owners have.
They may also lose trust in people, and this can cause serious problems.

Daily Life

Sleep: The dog should have a separate sleeping area, where it should be left in peace when it needs to sleep.
The puppy has just left the parents and siblings, and does his new flock around to feel safe.

Food: The dog should be allowed to have peace around the bowl, do not disturb it while it eats!

Toys: If there are young children in the house, so that there are toys everywhere, it is wise to get the dog's own toys, and replace them if it takes children's toys.

You control!
You should initiate activity, and end it, it's a good and positive way to teach your dog that you're in charge of it.

Bite inhibition:
This is a very important topic - dogs have a built-in opportunity to learn that they will not bite hard individuals of distinct species, and it expects us humans in their nature. The puppy learns this from litter mates that screams loud and clear when they are bitten too hard - that we should continue to practice by allowing the puppy nip on the fingers, and say clearly ouch when it bites too hard!
A dog with good bite inhibition is a safe dog to have in the house.

It is important that the dog is accustomed to being touched, lifted, stand still and be investigated and that one can cut the nails and brush it. This must be trained while the puppy is small, and often! Many puppies will perceive this as scary if they are not accustomed to it, therefore it is important to work on this a little each day, and go slowly, be gentle and careful and give the puppy lots of praise while you're at it. If your dog growls or bites - not punishment it is, then make your situation much worse!
Try not to go so fast forward that scares the dog, because if it managed to scare you away with growling, biting or attacking, it has learned what to do to get peace.

If you have problems with this, seek help while the puppy is still small, when it gets older, this is the problem bigger!

What should we do to teach your puppy to socialize strangers?
First and foremost we need to go places where people of different ages and different sexes. Here, the same basic principles as for socialization in relation to dogs, and greeting / the passage of other dogs (see above). Start gently, exercise often, do not push your dog to meet if it is afraid, do not let your dog greet everyone you meet. Also here is that the rescue dog needs more exercise than those who are not afraid, and you have a puppy that is afraid of strangers, this is the most important training of the puppy's life.
There are very large differences between the different races how much exercise they need to be assured of strangers!

How do we teach the puppy to travel to different places and in different environments?
We do this by visiting various communities that we know he's going to walk in later life. If the puppy to travel a lot by bus, we begin with it pretty quickly, as is the train. The dog should be on road trips, short and long. Walking the streets with a lot of people and along the roads with much traffic is good exercise.
Again, it is to save the puppy need more exercise - and more gradual exercise, to overcome fear and learn that things are not as dangerous is a useful experience for the puppy!

Finally, I would say that prevention is the best medicine. By investing time and effort into your puppy's first weeks with you, you have laid the foundation for a positive dogs. GOOD LUCK!