Spring has Sprung

Posted by Sheena Neil on Friday, April 20, 2012
Does the warming weather have you craving sunshine and fresh air?
Fido has been patiently waiting for spring too.

Now is the time to start enjoying those evening walks and weekend BBQs with friends and family.

The best time to socialize your canine friend is in the early stages of puppyhood. 
The socialization period for puppies is the first 3 months of life.
This is a great time to introduce Fido to different types of people (men, women, and especially children of all ages), other dogs (puppies and adult dogs), and loud and startling noises (vacuum cleaners, hair blowers, thunder, pots dropping).

 It is important that young dogs have positive experiences in all types of scenarios. Having treats that new people or strangers can give to your dog will show him/her that new people are fun and exciting.

Be careful not to push your puppy too fast. If you see signs of stress (tail tucked, ears down, slouched body) calmly walk away from the situation.

And let's not forget those dreaded vet trips. You can help Fido prepare for things like examinations and nail clippings in advance by regularly examining ears and teeth yourself. Nail clippers can be used to simply tap the feet and toes while you feed yummy treats. This will not only teach your puppy that clippers equal treats but will help desensitize the sensitive nerves in the feet.
A great time to practice is when Fido is calm, such as in the evenings when watching your favourite television shows together.

Socialization isn't just for young dogs. Older dogs, even seniors, benefit greatly from ongoing socialization and positive experiences. 

A socialization check list is a great tool to help you keep track of the experiences Fido has encountered. Dr. Sophia Yin has a great list you can download and print. It can be found here.

Another great tool is friends, family, and fellow dog owners. Getting a new puppy is a great time to invite that friend over for coffee that you haven't seen a while. 
Invite other dog owners over for puppy play sessions or meet for a walk in the park. Your veterinarian, local pet store, trainer, or groomer may know of socialization or play groups. You can search online or create your own play group that meets periodically at the local park. 

Do not forget that country and farm dogs need to be socialized as well. A dog that has never experienced a leash or a car ride will quickly learn to hate veterinary visits as well. Next time you run to town to check the mail or grab some milk be sure to put a collar and leash on Fido, hop in the car, and take a short walk around the block before heading home.

Dogs of all ages can learn to enjoy different experiences regardless of their socialization background. Even fearful dogs can learn to sit calmly in uncomfortable situations.

Keystone Training offers one-on-one private sessions to help socialize both young puppies and older or fearful dogs.


Tags: puppies  trimming nails  socialization  farm dog  fearful dog 

About Me

Sheena Neil Owner/Trainer Keystone Training