This past Saturday marked the end of yet another dog obedience session.What a great session we had! We covered many different topics and worked out a lot of behavioral issues, especially in the Basic group. Impulse control, trust, and communication are always an underlying themes of every Basic Obedience Class. Puppy Class was an absolute treat! From socialization to learning commands, these pups were resilient little learners. It turned out to be my favorite session thus far, between dogs and owners. It is always something special to watch and observe the relationships between dogs and owners grow. As always, thank you all for allowing me to teach both you and your dogs!
During puppyhood, dogs learn the foundational pieces needed to become well adjusted adults. Socialization, socialization, socialization. By allowing puppies to experience many different aspects of the world in positive and controlled manners, you are helping to create a well balanced dog. More specifically, puppy socialization helps create a well balanced dog. Puppies don’t just pop out of the womb knowing how interact in all situations, we have to teach them.
Socialization starts at birth. The moment the puppy is born it immediately engages with it’s mother, other littler mates, even their human caretakers. Growing and socializing with in the litter establishes the groundwork for further socialization, adjustment, and curiosity of the world as a whole.
Socialization comes in many forms. Whether it’s spending supervised time with well socialized adult dogs, other puppies, trips in the car, walks in town, any form of interaction that promotes a positive learning environment is referred to as socialization. It is also at this stage that you should highly supervise all forms of interaction. All it takes is one negative interaction with another dog, object, or experience, to ruin it forever. Dogs go through an “imprinting” phase as puppies, where all of their experiences are permanently engrained in their brain. This imprinting period is why socialization and positive learning is crucial to puppy development.
I always like to start my puppy classes with a few minutes of fun supervised play. It is always interesting to watch and develop over the weeks. The first week people and dogs spend more time at a distance, figuring each other out. Owners tend to keep dogs on leash and encourage sniffing and other “greeting” sorts of behaviors. As the weeks progress both dogs and owners become a little more brave and begin to engage in play. It is however, important to keep temperament, play styles, and body language in mind as play time gets increasingly comfortable for all parties involved.