Puppy Training And Socialization: The How-To Guide
Puppy training and socialization are vital in the first few months of your dog’s life. When your dog is young and still developing he is able to learn new skills quickly -skills that can keep him safe from harm. In a sense, your dog is a clean slate and he or she can be molded into a good canine citizen with a few simple techniques.
Start While Your Dog Is Young
Socializing your puppy early on is important because it will have an impact on his behaviour forever. Dogs that are well socialized know the basics of good manners and make good companions for people as well as other dogs. Dogs that aren’t properly socialized can be a danger to themselves as well as members of society, including their owners. Puppy training is a critical component of caring for your dog.
Dogs that aren’t well-socialized may become fear-biters and may fight with other dogs. In general, these dogs find it difficult to adapt to changes in their environment and may suffer from separation anxiety or fear visits to the vet. The Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine agrees that puppy training and socialization lasts up to 12 weeks (3 months) of age.
After this age puppy training should be continued so that your dog’s new skills can become more refined. Socialization is far easier before 3 months old. When your dog is a bit older it becomes more difficult and time-consuming to teach your dog new habits. Many dogs have been sent to pounds and rescue organizations simply because their owners have not taken the time to teach their dog the skills it requires to fit into society.
Create Pleasant Situations
Puppy training in socialization starts by creating pleasant situations for your dog. These may include exposing your dog to other humans – friends, both men and women, children, and older people. You may also want to expose your puppy to other dogs or even cats and birds so that he gets used to other animals. Make sure that all the animals your pet meets are healthy and vaccinated and that cats are dog-friendly.
Take It to Crowded Places
Providing lockdown restrictions are lifted, puppy training should also include taking your dog to shopping centers, parks, school playgrounds, and anywhere where there are likely to be crowds of people. Put your puppy in the car and take him for short but frequent rides. Let your puppy look out of the window when the car is stopped.
Your puppy training should familiarize your dog with umbrellas, bags, boxes, the vacuum cleaner, brooms, and lawnmowers. Your puppy should be curious but not shy or afraid.
Introduce Unfamiliar Sounds
Puppy training should get your dog used to strange and unfamiliar sounds. Start by introducing them from a distance and then gradually bring them closer. Your dog should also get used to being groomed – bathed, brushed, inspected, having its nails clipped, teeth and ears cleaned, and being examined by the veterinarian.
Use a Collar and Leash
Make sure that your puppy gets used to a collar and leash, walking upstairs, and greeting people while out and about. Your puppy training should expose your dog to as much of the world around him as possible so that these things don’t feel foreign and frightening to him. Never reward your dog for fearful behavior by using treats to soothe him. He may seem nervous at first but this is a natural part of learning for your dog.
Don’t frighten your pup during puppy training as this can result in a lifetime phobia for your pet. Let your dog take his or her time learning and soon a new, more confident dog will emerge. Good luck!
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