Socializing a Puppy 1: Meeting Other Pups | Teacher’s Pet With Victoria Stilwell

Socializing your puppy with other people and other dogs is really important, because it really sets your puppy up for success throughout adulthood as well The most important time to socialize your puppy is before 16 weeks of age

Now, this can sometimes be difficult, because 16 weeks of age is really the time when puppy gets all the vaccinations But, if you socialize in an environment that's safe for the puppy, then you'll be able to allow them to meet many different kinds of people, in many different situations, in many different environments Make sure that when you greet, you have a nice loose leash What we are allowing these dogs to do is smell each other So first, as you saw when they greeted each other, they smelled each other around the muzzle, then they smelled each other around the anogenital area

And these are the areas where a lot of smells are concentrated And these puppies can tell a lot about each other with the way that they smell They can tell the sex, the age, and the emotional state, just from the pheromones that are located in the moist areas of the body, such as around the mouth And that's why dogs sniff each others bottoms, because a lot of those pheromones are concentrated around the anogenital area Now, the puppies are licking — and licking, again, is a social behavior

They're also practicing a few little dominance moves by putting the head over the shoulders of the other dog This is not bad — they're just trying to establish where each other lies within this relationship Sanford, who's the Golden Doodle puppy, lay down, showing he's no threat And then, Mojo elicited play by doing, as you can see, the play bow Now, this is the time when it probably would be appropriate to let the dogs play with each other

But what you don't wanna have is one puppy to overpower the other, so that one of the puppies gets a negative association with play — so we have to keep a close eye on it as well as keeping as loose a leash as possible, so we are as much out of the picture as possible This is great now: As you can see, Mojo is sniffing the ground Sniffing is a displacement behavior, which basically shows the other dog that, hey, this is cool, we're playing, we're hanging out I'm not threat to you You're no threat to me

It's sort of establishing this relationship Now, as you can see, Mojo went down into his play bow again — he wants to have interaction, he wants that Sanford to come play with him They're both exhibiting great behavior These two puppies have never met before This is the first time they've met

We just have to be a little bit careful, because Sanford is a little bit larger — he might overpower Mojo And I can see that Mojo, when Mojo's tail goes down, he doesn't wanna play, but then he comes right back in to elicit play again He moves away again, not too sure Does some sniffing So, you can see, Joyce is keeping the leash really loose, as am I

We need to have control, but we also want to be as much out of the equation as possible to allow these dogs the ability to act as naturally as they can while being leashed Now, what we're going to do now –the next stage of this is the puppies seem to be pretty relaxed and comfortable with each other– is that we're going to drop the leashes We're not going to take the leashes off them at this moment, because we want to make sure play is appropriate So, we're just going to drop the leashes like this — allow the pups to do what they want Digging is a great behavior too

Sometimes, dogs will do things like itching or scratching or digging — these are all great sort of displacement behaviors They take focus off the actual dog itself and allows the other dog to focus on something different Now, what I'm gonna do now is Joyce and I are gonna remove the leashes completely I'm gonna see if the dogs interact and play with each other And it's fine if the dog comes back to gain confidence from the owner

Now, you can see, that Mojo is saying "come play with me, come play with me" Both of the dog's mouths are open and very relaxed Now, what you hope is that if one puppy overpowers the other, then the other one will tell them off What Mojo did, right then, was to turn his head away from Sanford, when he thought Sanford was being a bit too much And that was great, because Sanford understood that language and backed away — that's the kinda language that you want

It's so important that puppies of this age get to understand canine language Now, Sanford was a bit too much Enough Good, good Sanford was a bit too much, and then Mojo told Sanford off, just by having a little nip, a little snap at him

He's still interested in him, though, and that's the way dogs say "Look, you were being too much" There's a bit of lip-licking going on, and lip-licking is a stress signal Now, Mojo's had enough Good Now, we're going to take the dogs away from each other

Good Now, we're gonna allow the dogs to have a bit of breather I think this is very important, okay, that you monitor this puppy play — because the last thing you wanna have happen is one of the puppies to have a bad experience with the other puppy The puppies who have a negative experience with playing with another puppy, that might generalize to other puppies that they meet So if you think that play is getting too rough, or you think that one of the puppies, like Mojo is doing just there, got a little bit upset and was starting to tell that to the other puppy, as Mojo was telling Sanford, and then Sanford wasn't backing off, that's the time when you just come in and you separate them

You always want the pups to have a good experience during play When the puppies are playing, it's a really good idea to call them away, and refocus their attention onto you during their play That helps puppies realize that whenever you call them, even if they're playing with another puppy, they have to come back to you And that's how you socialize your puppy, positively I'm Victoria Stilwell for eHow Pets

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