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Meeting Other Dogs

Your puppy can’t have too many good experiences with other dogs:

Make sure you meet both large and small dogs:

Nervous puppy gains confidence:

If there’s no danger let them be:

Slightly fearful puppy socializing:

Helping a fearful Cavoodle puppy:

Socializing should be done as early as possible:

Puppy socialization is all about your puppy learning how to respond and communicate with other dogs. There is a whole language to learn about every area of life where dogs will communicate through verbal and body language, and energy. Nobody can teach a puppy how hard they can bite when playing as well as another puppy or dog and that is important to get right before she grows her big teeth and has a jaw like a vice!

When to start socializing:

Get socialization started as soon as possible. It should be under way at around 10 – 14 weeks of age. After this it becomes far harder as your puppy will not be used to other strange animals. Hopefully your puppy will have been with her siblings from birth and so shall have already learnt many rules of the dog world. It is often tricky to get your puppy vaccinated yet also socialize her before she grows up, thus the need to get onto it fast! So speak to your Vet about how soon you can meet other dogs at the park and when the next puppy socialization class is. Get going, you only have a few weeks

Like all training it never really ends however at 6 months old you will know if your puppy loves dogs or is not too sure still! Again this can change, just keep giving her the same message and making it a great experience.

Important points:

  • Always check first that your Vet is happy for your puppy to venture outside and has had all the necessary vaccinations
  • Every puppy is different, and they can change as they grow up, just because they are not confident when they are young does not mean that they wont be later on!
  • Make sure that you are looking forward to meeting other dogs or your puppy will pick up on it! Whatever you think of on a regular basis comes true, if you constantly think “Oh no, here comes another dog” your puppy will pick up on it before you know it!
  • Little dogs need to learn that big dogs can be friendly too
  • Older dogs have lots to teach younger pups, often a little growl is simply saying do not do that to the puppy and there is no need to step in
  • Sometimes it will take a while before two dogs start to play, just like humans do not bond with all strangers in under 60 seconds
  • When socializing your puppy remember the energy meter, your puppy will be nervous, maybe at level 5, but if she becomes too frightened at level 7 or above then take her away from the situation and take it slower

Remember when socializing:

  1. Try to set up safe situations for your new puppy, either attend a puppy school or go to your local park and look for smaller gentle dogs.
  2. Check with the owners first,” is your dog friendly?” You will usually get a fairly simple yes/no answer and then ask if its okay for your puppy to meet and greet. Most dog owners are only too happy to assist in your socialization and show off their well-behaved dog!
  3. Walk over calmly with your puppy either on the lead or off leash if the area is secure (sometimes a nervous puppy will run for cover!)
  4. Carry on talking to the person in a relaxed manner trying not to make eye contact with your puppy.
  5. If your puppy is a little nervous and needs a safe place to hide for a minute or two but is not is any danger then squat down and provide a den for him to gain confidence between your legs but don’t pick him up.
  6. Do not give affection or attention at this point especially. If you give affection or attention when your puppy is nervous then you will reinforce the belief that there is real danger
  7. If your puppy starts to follow the other dog around then he is obviously enjoying things – congratulations.

Q&A

Q: My puppy barked at a dog what should I do in this situation?

A: It is almost certain that your little puppy thinks it needs to protect you. In this situation I would practice SSCD stop, start, change direction on the lead and move away and then back towards the dog. If you are the pack leader your puppy will see that you are not making any fuss of this other dog and will calm down. Take your time, there is no rush.

Q: What do I do if a big dog is getting too rough with my puppy?

A: In that situation the owner of the larger dog should put it on a lead and do some SSCD or you should move your dog on making nothing of the drama, in fact play it down!

Q: Is it beneficial to go to puppy classes before we go to obedience classes?

A: Meeting lots of puppies is one good way to meet other puppies in a safe environment so it can be very beneficial

Q: My puppy was petrified at puppy class and would not come out from under my chair, is this normal?

A:

Like many young dogs and puppies they can become fearful and play it safe. We must give them the right messages, provide somewhere safe for them to gain confidence, provide an atmosphere where they can overcome their fear, provide calm energy (not make a fuss with patting and cuddling) and give them time to realise that there is no danger after all. Some puppies will take longer than others but if you rush it and give them a really bad experience ti will take much longer. Remember the energy meter

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