The socialization process begins the minute your puppy steps into his new home. He has questions, such as: Where does everyone sleep? What happens if I make a mistake? How do we communicate? Your answers to these questions will determine whether your puppy becomes more or less than just another member of the family. This section covers what you need to know about introducing your young puppy to his new surroundings and how to maintain this important relationship throughout your pup’s life.
Just like human babies, puppies need to feel special. They crave attention and affection from their caregivers. If they don’t receive it, they can become insecure, fearful, timid, shy, aggressive, nervous, or even destructive.
Socializing your puppy starts by taking him for short walks and letting people hold him so he gets used to being touched. Then gradually work up to allowing him in public places where there are lots of distractions (such as shopping malls, restaurants, parks). Finally, let your puppy meet new friends who are not members of the family. By doing so, you will lay the groundwork for a lifetime of happiness for both of you.
PUPPIES NEED TO BE TREATED LIKE HUMAN BABES.
How well your puppy adjusts to his new surroundings depends largely upon how well he understands and accepts communication. A puppy must learn to accept commands such as “Come,” “Sit,” “Stay,” “Quiet,” “Enough” (when he’s eating), “Leave it” (when he’s chewing something he should never chew), “Where are you?” (when he disappears under the bed), “Towel” (after a bath), and many others. In addition, puppies respond best to rewards and punishers given at exactly the right times during a lesson or exercise session. When your puppy makes mistakes, correct him kindly but firmly, giving gentle guidance rather than treats or scoldings.
HOW DO YOU TELL IF YOUR DOG IS ANGRY OR HAPPY?
A dog’s body language gives away his emotions. Dogs wag their tails when they are happy and stand tall and alert when they sense danger. The tail is also useful in showing submission, fear, pain, and aggression. A dog may arch his back, puff out his chest, crouch down, or roll over onto his side, depending on his emotional state. These postures send messages to those around them. For example, a dog that rolls over submissively is saying, “I’m vulnerable; pay attention to me.” An arched-back posture means, “Back off—I’m angry.” A curled lip, lowered ears, and flattened ears indicate disdain, fear, or aggression. Be especially attentive to your dog’s body language after an encounter with a strange dog or stranger. Does your dog approach the other animal cautiously, snarling or baring his teeth? Or does he act friendly and relaxed? You’ll have clues to the answer.
PROGRESSING WITH PUPPY’S TRAINING
As mentioned earlier, every pup needs to be trained. Start training early—well before your pup develops bad habits. It takes patience and consistency to teach a young puppy good behavior, and only you can do the teaching. Puppy obedience classes offer helpful tips and techniques that will ensure a successful learning experience for you and your puppy. Begin using these lessons soon after your puppy arrives home to help set him on the path to a lifelong appreciation of obedience from his fellow dogs and humans alike.