1) At some point in your dog’s life they’ll have to be handled by professionals like veterinarians and groomers.
2) Socialization is important for puppies. Building confidence and social skills around people will help your puppy develop into a secure, stable adult dog.
All puppies need to get used to being touched, handled, poked and prodded. It’s all part of raising a trustworthy, social, confident dog. One prime example of this is if there is ever an emergency situation, having desensitized your dog as a puppy to trust people could be life saving for your dog.
Have your puppy stand still while you pick up each paw. Now separate each toe. Next, look into their ears, open their mouths, touch their teeth and run your hands over their entire body. Once your puppy is used to you doing this, get a friend to try it. Get your puppy used to different people handling them. If you do this on a regular basis, it’ll pay off later for your groomer, vet, passerby’s on the street, you, and most of all your dog. Keep in mind that puppies have very short attention spans. Don’t force this and only work on it for short periods of time. Being handled by you should never turn into a negative experience.
Play with your puppy
The more people your puppy has the chance to interact and play with the better. So ask your friends to help you with your homework and play with your puppy, (pretty sure they will oblige!). Your puppy needs the stimulation of being in a variety of different situations with a variety of different people. Adult dogs that are shy, fear biters, or are unsuccessful in training, likely acquired this misbehavior as a direct result of either a lack of contact, or no contact with people during crucial times in their up-bring. See stages of a dogs life.
Bring your puppy to lots of different places. Maybe try a doggy daycare or a dog park. Have treats handy and give them to others to give your puppy. Doing this will help establish trust in strangers and imprint on your puppy good feelings toward people.
Once your puppy is about six months old it’s no longer as necessary for other people to handle them in the same fashion. It can actually become confusing to a young adult dog. Your young dog needs to start looking to the ‘pack leader’ (yup, that’s you, at least it better be!) for guidance. Every dog that’s properly bonded to their ‘pack’ will naturally feel a sense of protectiveness, regardless of training. So continue to allow your young adult dog to socialize with others, just make sure they respect your authority and ‘ask your permission’ before running off to play!
Written by Brenda McBurnie, Certified Professional Dog Trainer and Natural Nutrition
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