Perfect Puppy Training Book – Chapter 2 – Socialization (Part 3)
Chapter 2 – Socialization (Part 3)
Socialization to Other Dogs
If your puppy will ever be around other dogs, whether it’s in the neighborhood, in a training class, or with dogs you have at home, it’s important to expose her to different dogs at an early age so that she learns to get along with them properly. Puppies who are not socialized with other dogs sometimes never learn to “speak dog” and have fear or aggression problems with members of their own species.
It’s very important to only pick safe dogs to interact with your puppy so that she has positive experiences. If you have a tiny 3-pound Yorkshire Terrier, it’s not a good idea to let her play with a bouncy 30-pound Labrador Retriever puppy. The Lab puppy could hurt your Yorkie without meaning to; the size difference is just too great. Now, if it’s an older Labrador Retriever with a proven history of being safe and gentle around young puppies, it may be perfectly fine. Just be sure that you know the other dog well before risking injury.
What Not to Do
All socialization is not good socialization. Bad experiences at an early age can make negative impressions for years to come. Sometimes, certain situations are just too much for your puppy. If she is having a good time, she will look the part. Her ears will be up, her eyes will be bright, and she may wag her tail or whole body and actively seek interaction.
If your puppy is not enjoying herself, learn to recognize her signs of stress to avoid causing emotional harm. Here are some things to look for:
- Cowering or Clinging
- Ears down and back
- Lip licking
- Sleeping (all young puppies take frequent naps, but if you find your puppy sleeping a lot when you have her out or at a busy event, she may actually be shutting down)
- Tail tucking
- Turning the head or body away from people who approach
- Frequent yawning
For example, let’s say you take your puppy to your child’s soccer game. You see that she’s flinching at the loudspeaker and getting a bit clingy. She starts to whine. Your child’s team rushes around her to pet her. She licks her lips, turns her head away, and yawns. She tries to crawl in your lap or under the bleachers. These signs of stress mean that your puppy is not having a good socialization experience. You may actually be teaching her that children, large groups of people, or playing fields are cause for worry. Forcing her to remain there or hoping she’ll get used to it might only make things worse. If you see signs of stress in your puppy, immediately remove her from the situation until she relaxes.
Take it much slower with your puppy, and gradually get her used to this level of stimulation.
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