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Good canine manners and obedience training are only part of having a well-trained dog. The third piece of the puzzle is socialization and while this is easiest to teach a puppy of young dog, it can be learned by dogs of any age. Your dog will most likely be facing a multitude of people, places, and situations in their life and needs to be prepared for the outside world. Dogs take a lot of time, money, patience, and persistence. Hopefully you thought of these things before you got your furbaby and if you cannot devote these needs to a dog, you might want to consider your choice of pet. If you can provide these necessities you are most likely ready to be a great pet parent.
New puppies and even old dogs can always learn new tricks, it just takes some work. So if you are in the Woodlands, TX area and looking for dog training experts, look no further than here at Puptown Houston! We believe that training begins a moment a dog is born and we start teaching dogs (entirely off leash) at just six weeks old. Our philosophy is simple: all dogs, regardless of age or breed, are able to learn. Sure some dogs learn faster than others but the same holds true for people. Puptown offers an individualized approach to each dog instead of a “one size fits all” training method. We offer obedience training, behavior modification, plus therapy dog and protection training. We even offer drop off services for “doggie day camp” as we understand that pet parents have busy schedules.
With your permission, our training includes taking your dog to several different places where they will encounter a variety of people, situations, and other animals. Socialization cannot be taught in a ring which is why Puptown exposes dogs to real-world situations as part of their training. And we don’t just train pets, we train their owners too so they can continue to work with their dog and home and understand what their canine company specifically needs to learn necessary behaviors. To give you an example of what our Woodlands dog trainers teach dogs, here are four socializations tips that can lead to a well-mannered pooch.
Being Around Other Dogs
If you want your dog to get along with other dogs then your pooch must be able to interact with other dogs. Part of our training method at Puptown is to let pups run and play with each other to interact, make friends, and learn how to behave with other dogs. Like people, dogs tend to accept what they feel is a pleasant encounter. We feel like lettings dogs simply be dogs is a pleasant encounter as they experience sights, smells, and sounds they deem “safe”. Not only does Puptown achieve this by introducing your dog to other pups, but also by taking your dog to various places and expose them to different people.
Let’s be honest, a puppy or young dog is easier to socialize as an older dog will require more time and attention to this training. From the age of 3-20 weeks, puppies are in a sensitive period in which they are generally accepting of new dogs, people, and places. If a dog experiences any trauma during this period, it can make trust and acceptance much more difficult, especially if the dog is not removed from a bad situation as it gets older. This mistrust can be overcome, but it will take a lot of work and patience. Proper socialization can eventually instill that trust in a dog that will lead to good socialization.
While trying to socialize your dog, behavioral reinforcement is a must. A dog only has a window of a few seconds to know if an action is “good or bad” based on how their handler responds to the behavior. If a dog is rewarded immediately following the successful completion of a command, the dog realizes this is a “good” behavior and they will be rewarded for it. If a dog is (gently) reprimanded for a behavior in that short window of cognition, the dog will learn this behavior is undesirable thus “bad”. Unless someone acts within the window of cognition, a dog will not understand why it is being rewarded versus disciplined.
Step by Step
No matter how old the dog is, socialization must be taught as a series of steps. Begin by introducing your dog to just one dog then gradually move up to letting your pooch run about in a dog park. The same goes for people, start by introducing your dog to one person at a time. Keep a pleasant, relaxed voice when working with your dog and keep interactions brief at first, gradually increasing the times. Socialization should be enjoyable for your dog and yourself and don’t doubt for a second that your dog isn’t picking up on your thoughts and feelings. After all, if you can’t build a trusting relationship with your dog how can you expect him/her to build such a relationship with anyone else?