When you decide to add a new puppy to your family there are many, many things to consider. Every decision from the name and food you choose for your new ball of fluff to how to train him (or her). Of these decisions, the most important decision you will make is to actively socialize your puppy.
Socializing your puppy will allow him to live among people and other pets peacefully and happily. So, if this is such an important decision, exactly how do you go about accomplishing it?
Puppy socialization essentially begins the moment you bring him home. There are many aspects to proper socialization and training of a puppy. Not biting, jumping, having food aggression are all important characteristics that you need to help your puppy to achieve.
Nobody wants their dog to bite them…even when playing. All puppies however, will attempt this very behavior. When they are teething, puppies will bite anything they can get in between their sharp little teeth. Unfortunately this will include fingers, toes, socks, shoes, furniture…anything.
So how do you curb this? The first step is to tell the puppy “NO!” in a stern voice. Show your displeasure each and every time. Then give your pup something that is acceptable for him to chew on, a dog toy or rawhide. Praise your puppy like mad when he does chew on the correct item. Do this each and every time that your puppy diverts back to unacceptable chewing options.
A jumping dog is a dog that no one enjoys having around, and the larger the dog, the less it is enjoyed. No one wants a dog that jumps on people, one that is an unwelcome visitor, no one wants guests to stay away because of their dogs bad behavior either.
This, again, is something that is easier curbed with a puppy. The older the dog, the harder it is to stop the jumping. When a puppy jumps up on you, gently knock him down on all fours telling him “NO JUMPING”. Do this every single time that your pup begins to jump up and eventually you can tell the dog not to jump even before he starts. This will progress to him not jumping up on you, your family or friends as a full grown dog.
Perhaps the most important aspect of puppy socialization is to steer your puppy away from guarding his food. This is known as food aggression. In older dogs, this becomes evident when a dog growls, even bites when a human tries to take its food away. This is also perhaps the easiest socialization behavior to avoid.
When you feed your puppy, meals as well as treats, periodically take the food back. Make your puppy let it go. Teach your furry student to wait before taking a treat from your hand, to drop it when you command it from him. This is an exercise that is best repeated throughout the dog’s entire life.
Taking the time to properly socialize your puppy in these ways is just as important as potty training and teaching common commands such as sit and stay. A dog that is improperly socialized is more likely to find himself regulated to the back yard, being bounced from home to home or ending up at the local animal shelter.
Protect your puppy’s future, socialize him correctly and be prepared to enjoy many happy years together.