When you’re as tiny and adorable as Lucy, it can be hard for people to ignore you and keep their hands and squeals to themselves!
And while I certainly can’t argue with being tempted to cuddle such a cute puppy, it’s so important that as puppy owners, we are their advocate. And as people in the public, we respect other people’s wishes, and this includes those requests regarding their dog.
What do I mean by this? Well, I constantly get calls and emails from owners of young dogs that have developed behavior problems that are caused by this very big issue. Wonderful, well-intentioned dog owners who take their puppy or newly adopted dog out and about, to get them the exposure and socialization that so many puppy raising books and even other pet professionals insist that you do.
Again- the intention is solid. And you are a good dog owner. It only makes sense to get them out as much as possible!
So why is your puppy or dog developing behaviors such as incessant pulling towards strangers, barking and whining when they see another dog, have this seemingly impossible-to-break jumping habit, and completely ignoring you when anything potentially exciting is going on around? Or maybe your dog isn’t the boisterous, outgoing type and instead, he or she exhibits behaviors such as avoiding people or dogs, whining, maybe even peeing or growling when people get too close. Both of these “types” can often times be rooted in the same style of puppy raising, and signs can’t always be seen early on.
The mindset that you must take your puppy out and let them meet most every dog and person that you encounter to socialize them creates the expectation of just that— that they will always get to meet every person or dog that they encounter, and when you decide that they are “socialized enough” and you go to break this habit, it is a change in their routine that frustrates them. And rightfully so, as you are breaking the expectation that you’ve created for them out in the world.
Then what’s the solution??
I’m definitely not saying to keep your puppy from meeting new people or dogs, but there are absolutely good and bad ways to go about exposing and socializing your dog. We are here and happy to help you understand this process better, and be as involved to help guide you through this period as much as you’d like.
Lucy is a five month old Labradoodle puppy whose parents do private lessons with me, and they are now supplementing her private lesson program with adding some days of our Day Camp services to get her more proper exposure and continue improving her socialization skills. If this sounds like something you are interested in learning more about, I’m always only a call, e-mail, or message away!
Post by Anneliese
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