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Socialization - not social butterfly

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There are a lot of different ideas on proper socialization especially with a working breed.  Some want the dog to be very territorial so keep the dog at home and sheltered, but from what I have seen this makes a fear biter not necessarily a safe companion.  The more things and people you expose a dog to the more confident he becomes and does not have to feel that his little back yard is all there is and he must defend it with his life.   While I want my dogs to know how to properly behave in another dogs presence I personally do not care if they ever play with anyone's dogs other than my own. Right of the bat I will tell you I do not favor dog parks. I feel that they are a law suit waiting to happen.  I said that the first time I ever heard of one and have not changed my mind.  Your dog may be fine, but I do not trust other folks or their dogs. It is MY job to protect and train my puppy.  

The ideal situation is to take your puppy with you as much as you can. This will expose him to new situations and help to build confidence when in new or strange places or when meeting new people.  I start my training immediately.  I take the puppy to what I consider "safe" places - places where there are not a risk of multiple dogs roaming.  I have never held a puppy back due to lack of completed vaccinations.  The period of socialization is too important to let is slide by.  So what are my guidelines -  FULL sun,  wide open grass areas, concrete, places where other dogs do not normally frequent.  Yes I do take puppies into dog stores but I do not potty them in any area where it is obvious other dogs have gone potty - Remember these things I consider key to for the puppies safety s FULL sun exposure ----concrete and BLEACH is your best friend.

Proper way to introduce a new puppy to the home if there is an older dog -

   Do not introduce the puppy to the older dog at home.  This is the older dog's territory and can set him off with the puppy having a very bad experience.  They should meet at a neutral location with both on leash.  Let them meet and greet then take them for a long walk (15 to 20 minutes minimum)  and then take them home.  The older dog should remain on leash and under your control.  They puppy can be turned loose but I would leave the leash on.  Let the puppy approach the older dog not the other way around.  A bigger older dog running at a puppy could frighten the puppy and create an issue that was not necessary.  Never would I let a puppy meet any older dog that was not on leash and under control.  If the big dog reacts the puppy can safely get away.  If the big dog is loose you have a problem if it approaches the puppy to fast it could scare the puppy.  This is true for any large or small mature dog the puppy might meet.  They should always be on leash and let the puppy do the approaching.  Once they get to know each other then it should be fine for them to play together as long as they get along well.  I would not let them together unsupervised.  There is a risk of them running and accidently tumbling the puppy resulting in a broken bone.  

I could not speak about socialization if I did not address  those of you who worry about Parvo.  You need to understand it is everywhere in the environment and it mutates every year.  At best the parvo vaccine is only 75% affective.  They claim a puppy is not protected from parvo until their final puppy shot at 4 months. Fact is I have known dogs that were not exposed to other dogs and fully vaccinated come down with parvo.  Yes it is ugly and it is deadly.  Use caution.  Using my formula above I have never had a problem with parvo.  

So even before their final puppy shots I try to take the puppy to new places at least 2 or 3 times a week.  I am just a lot more cautious. I don't let the puppy down on the ground in areas where other dogs have been. Ex: if I am traveling and the puppy needs to take a potty break I don't stop at a rest area. I know that many dogs have frequented those places, therefore, I will stop at an exit with little traffic and no gas station if possible.  I figure it is less likely that a puppy has wandered around by the interstate.

Parvo lives in the ground for 2 to 3 years. Once you have contracted it you cannot bring another puppy onto the premises unless you want to do a thorough sterilization. That means get new carpet, disinfect the walls or any area that the sick puppy touched, bleach your shoes and wash your clothing with bleach.  If you want to decontaminate your yard then that means burn it off.  That is a big hassle.

Okay that is enough about caution………on to SOCIALIZATION! The fact is the more outside things you acquaint your puppy with the more things he will have the confidence to handle. He needs two very important social skills:  Good manners around other people and good manners around other dogs.

The best time to start obedience classes is before a lot of unwanted behavior develops.  12 weeks is not too young.  It will build your confidence as a new puppy owner and build communication skills between you and your puppy which strengthens your bond. I strongly recommend obedience classes for two main reasons.         a..  It gets the puppy into a new environment                                                                                                                                                                b.  The puppy gets to learn to work with distractions and this helps the puppy learn to focus on you.                                                                      c.  It helps you build a stronger bond with your new puppy                                                                                                                                            d.  It helps advance maturity by improving focus

1. He needs to meet lots of people and learn that they are friends and to be treated as such. No growling, shying, lunging or jumping up.
Meeting other people is important to build his confidence and to help him overcome fear of other people. You want him comfortable with other people and build confidence.  This will help eliminate fear biting because the poor dog has not been allowed to socialize properly.

2. He needs to meet other dogs and learn proper dog behavior - this does not mean he needs a playmate or to run and play with other dogs.  All dogs speak the same language so you have to ask yourself do you want a relationship with your dog or do you want your dog to be more interested in his own kind.

Meeting other dogs (and having free time to romp and play will teach him doggie play. Doggie play and people play are two different kinds of playing. I do not consider this critical to a well mannered dog.  As long as I have a well mannered dog who is not reactive when I meet strange dogs I am fine.  If you compete I have found that letting your dog play with other dogs makes it harder in competition as he thinks it is play time.  Just a thought to consider.

Copyright © 2010 Suzan Shipp/Dobs4ever. All rights reserved. Revised: ALL PICTURES AND CONTENT ON THIS BLOG ARE THE SOLE PROPERTY OF Suzan Shipp/Dobs4ever/J Bar S Dobermans and may not be used, copied or reprinted without express permission from the owner. Copyrighted 2010

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In Germany, dober-people say: learn your dog to love people, when he is young. When he gets adult, he will know by instinct to make a difference between friends and strangers. So I think you don t need to show a doberman to take care of his family and his house.

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