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Make Nothing Of It

Focus on what you want your dog to do, not on what you don’t!

Griffin Puppy socializing:

How to make nothing of it

When you meet something for the first time, and you want to ensure that your puppy is given the message that there is no danger than here are some things to try.

  • Keep control – have your dog on a leash and walk past the object without stopping.
  • It is normal for your puppy to be wary and inquisitive. However, you must not rush things. If necessary take your time getting closer and closer to the object.
  • When you get near the object try squatting down with your back to the object (turning your back shows the dog that there is no danger as you never turn your back if it's dangerous!)
  • Do not touch or speak to your puppy and avoid eye contact with your puppy at all times as doing this will make them more stressed.
  • You can give your puppy affection well after the object is out of sight and your puppy is totally calm and relaxed.
  • Use distraction to show your dog that you are not interested in the object, for example, bend down and start looking in the grass for a stick – your puppy may well come over to see what is so attractive.
  • Focus your energy and attention where you want your puppy to focus theirs, do not focus it on the thing you want your puppy to ignore!
  • If your puppy goes up to sniff and investigate, then keep the leash loose and say nothing, not even their name or “Good boy” (this is because again if they are feeling nervous or scared, this will make them feel more nervous).
  • If your puppy is barking or becoming very fearful then only walk them away, and make nothing of it the next day! They will learn over time.

People are visiting:

  1. Always ask visitors to follow Golden Rule No.3 and ignore your puppy when they arrive (I know, I know they are cute!!).
  2. If your puppy is so nervous to approach the visitor then make sure they don’t start trying to encourage them over by staring at them and calling them.
  3. Wait until your puppy has actually built up the courage to go and sniff and when they sniff the visitor, stay still, avoid eye contact and say nothing.
  4. Then after a short while call the puppy over with a little treat.

You can assist your puppy by:

  • Using a lead and doing stop, start, change direction to calm your puppy down
  • Using a lead and doing stop, start, change direction to build your pup's confidence up
  • Moving your puppy further away, so the experience is not so intense
  • Focus your puppies attention onto something else through distraction or some other means

Related topics:

Dog-Dog Aggression on the walk


Q: I have been told to keep introducing my puppy to lots of new things. Is this correct?

A: Yes you should introduce them to new things but do it in the right way, by making nothing out of them! Do not make a big fuss of your puppy when the new object is introduced and if your puppy is stressed then lower the intensity for a while.

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