Pawsative Pups: You have a new puppy, now what?

Lisa Davies is a new columnist for Black Press who writes about dog training

This is the first of a series of articles about everything puppy! We will cover important periods puppies go through, how to prevent issues before they start, socialization and more!

The most important thing that can begin the moment you bring your puppy home is socialization. We hear this word thrown around a lot but what does it really mean?

When we talk about socializing a puppy, we are looking to expose our pup to everything he will experience in his adult life. However, it’s not just about exposure, it’s about positive experiences and positive associations. This is where many people get confused and can sometimes get it wrong by overwhelming their puppy. Positive experiences are crucial. This list is a comprehensive list by a Veterinary Behaviourist of what to socialize your puppy to.

The goal is to do as much of this socialization by about 16 weeks of age.

I know this is a terribly short. Up to around 4 months (it varies somewhat depending on specific breeds), there is what is called, a sensitive period (also known as a critical period of socialization) in puppies. This is when they are most receptive to learning about the world around them without too much fear coming into play.

As a result of this sensitive period in pups, there are some incredibly important things we need to do. The first is to find an extremely knowledgeable breeder, these breeders will know the importance of very early socialization that can begin as early as 3 weeks. Exposing pups to novel sights and sounds, children, lots of handling and much more is now the job of your breeder; your job is to continue this process when you bring your puppy home. There is even an excellent program that some breeders follow and this goes through incredible detail to help breeders take the first steps in helping their pups become confident adult dogs. This puppy culture program goes further and helps pet owners with a lot of information to really encourage people to provide lots of socialization opportunities and confidence building while a pup is young.

Pairing food any time that you think your puppy is concerned about something can NEVER hurt and will only ever help. Adding distance from something that may be frightening your pup at the same time as feeding, can also work very well. We know that pairing food with something scary, will change the emotion of a dog, and this happens even faster with a puppy, so I highly recommend this. By doing this, you are focusing on your dog being comfortable and happy for each experience. I like to think of each experience as a layer of padding. If your puppy has 30 dog to dog experiences, that would be 30 layers of padding. If, on the 31st, she has a bad experience, she has 30 past experiences to know that this is just a little “blip”. If, however, this is only her first or second experience with another dog, this can profoundly affect her for the rest of her adult life. Brains are designed to remember negative events much better than positive ones. This is even the case for humans, so this pup is going to remember this negative experience! How do we know for sure that our pup is actually enjoying a particular person, event etc? This is an excellent YouTube video by Kikopup explaining some very good information about how to socialize your pup including body language to look for, to help you know that your puppy is actually enjoying the places you are going and experiences she is having.

Puppies are so much fun, and although never a guarantee, there is so much we contribute to in their young lives to help them mature into lovely and confident adult dogs!

Missed the last column?

Why are we afraid to treat our dogs?

About Lisa Davies:

Lisa Davies (KPA-CTP, CDBC, CTC) has been training for 17 years. She graduated from the Academy for Dog Trainers, the Harvard of Dog Training Programs, and is also a certified Behaviour Consultant, specializing in aggression, including dog to human. She has a huge passion for helping rescues become more adoptable through training and is an BC SPCA Animalkind Accredited Trainer.

She shares her home with her husband, two Terriers, a Pointer and a Chihuahua, two goats, a miniature horse and two bunnies.

Contact Lisa at:

Pawsitively Canine Dog Training Services

www.pawsitivelycanine.ca

(604)836-5948

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Update: Wildfire on Adams Lake band land near Chase classified as out of control

BC Wildfire Service reports Shuswap two-hectare fire is not threatening structures

Armed robbery of legal grow-op in Sicamous ends in arrest near Enderby

Residents alarmed over increased police presence Tuesday morning

VIDEO: Salmon Arm family in isolation rises to musical challenge

The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine used to share efforts to avoid spread of COVID-19

North Okanagan bands together in support against COVID-19

New group launches website with tools to help endure crisis

Shuswap residents, distiller respond to safety, sanitization needs at seniors care facilities

Sicamous’ After Dark Distillery shifts to making sanitizer to support community

WATCH: Salmon Arm artist hosts virtual art show amid COVID-19

Roxi Hermsen’s show “Into the Cosmos” is a tribute to her father Bill Sim

HERGOTT: COVID-19 and ICBC

Paul Hergott is a personal injury lawyer based in West Kelowna

COVID-19: Armstrong gym fined $345 after failure to close

The fitness centre was issued a ticket a day after province ordered all gyms to close

Bus rider who travelled to Golden tests positive for COVID-19

The passenger travelled from Calgary to Golden on March 15

COVID-19: Vernon homeless shelters combine in curling club

Gateway and Our Place shelter sites housed under one roof amid pandemic

COVID-19: Don’t get away for Easter weekend, Dr. Bonnie Henry warns

John Horgan, Adrian Dix call 130 faith leaders as holidays approach

COVID-19: Trudeau says 30K ventilators on the way; 3.6M Canadians claim benefits

Canada has seen more than 17,000 cases and at least 345 deaths due to COVID-19

‘Overwhelming, incredible’ support for foreign workers following West Kelowna COVID-19 outbreak

‘…Our team seems to be recovering well — symptoms are resolving’

RCMP call on kids to name latest foal recruits

The baby horses names are to start with the letter ‘S’

Most Read