Posted on 10 March 2016 by Positive Dog Training Dublin
When your puppy has just been vaccinated, there will be a period of time, when your vet will recommend they stay away from other dogs and areas that other dogs frequent to avoid the risk of picking up something nasty. That doesn’t mean that they are housebound! This is the ideal time to get them used to being in the car, car + treats = puppy happy in car. Being driven in the car helps with the puppy getting used to the motion of the car, seeing traffic, hearing loud trucks and busses drive by and this in itself is valuable socialisation. You can carry your dogs to places, such as the school gates so he/she hears the sounds of bells, children playing, traffic and they see trees and people whizz by on bikes and skateboards. To the park where he can see and hear other dogs playing. Making a positive association of all these things that we are humans barely notice anymore will massively help make your puppy confident going forward in life.
Puppy Play time – when we talk about puppy to puppy socialisation, we do not mean heading off with your young pup to the local dog park, clipping off the lead and letting him/her run amok with any and all other dogs that are there. All dog to dog meeting should be monitored to make sure the dogs are happy and comfortable in each other’s company. For new owners it can be hard to know at first when puppies are playing nicely together or when they are getting a bit rough. Here at PDT we would always say if you think it may be rough, interrupt! The worst thing that will happen is that you have stopped a fun game. Puppy play styles vary a lots depending on breed, size and temperament and it can take a bit of time to work out what type of player your new pup is.
Some general tips for puppy play
Supervision – keep an eye on your puppy, look at their body language and watch out for signs of stress. Avoiding/hiding from the other dogs, lip licking, excessive panting, ears pinned back etc.
Be aware of your puppys play style. What you are looking to see is actions like a play bow, relaxed loose body posture, role swapping when playing with another dog, for example the dogs is not always the one being chased that its an equally matched game.
Stay close by your puppy in case he needs a break, and so he knows where to return to you for support.
A confident young puppy at home who has had little or no interaction with other dogs since he left his litter may quickly become overwhelmed if too many dogs try to say hello and play with him, it’s a big leap out of their comfort zone so be sure to be ready to step in and be proactive to make sure that your pup does not associate other dogs with feeling afraid or uncomfortable. Starting off its perfectly fine to let him watch and listen and feed him occasionally treats so he associates other dogs coming towards with something nice happening.
A great way to get a handle on socialisation, is to enrol in a puppy course of training classes. In this environment your puppy will learn how to respond to basic cues while there is the distraction of other puppies in the immediate area. Your class trainer will be on hand to give you any advice on how to handle different play styles and when to interrupt play.
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