sad puppy Kiss Dog TrainingOK everyone (or at least all my clients know) YOU HAVE TO SOCIALIZE A PUPPY!!! But there is a very significant, important and critical follow up question…. What needs to happen after socialization?

Well most agree that the critical social development period for a puppy (that period where we gotta get the dog used to all sorts of stimuli and pair all encounters with food and fun) is from about week 3 to week 20… In fact here is a link to a socialization checklist for puppies from our website, if you fall into this time frame…

Click Here for Checklist

OK, back to what to do after week 20??? Well that’s where I am going to use a kid example to explain… When our kids are young (toddlers) we teach them to…

  • Say hello
  • Give hugs
  • Say please & thank you
  • Even say excuse me…

We in essence socialize our kids to the world they are about to enter as “little people” 😉 But somewhere around 4-5 years old we start teaching different things…

  • Don’t talk to strangers
  • Don’t take candy from strangers
  • Don’t get in white panel vans
  • And don’t get in a car to help a stranger find his/her puppy

Again in essence we switch gears and show that the socialization coin has two sides and that there are rules and that here are people/things we pay attention to and things we should ignore…

We do a great job at training puppies to be excited and confident about everything and have in some cases inadvertently created adult dogs with zero impulse control and that is what we talked about in the last blog I Don’t Want To Eat You, Just Meet You… How the leash can affect behavior! Many Don’t know how to handle on leash distractions…

So at around 6 month to a year we should start teaching dogs to pay attention to us and to ignore distractions with rewards and practice. And due to the “Leash Oriented” world we live in, we start focusing on the commands like Leave it and Watch Me and even teach dogs how to Say Hello and How to greet people with permission vs. reckless abandon, on leash…

Unfortunately, we (not on purpose) have created a world where everything is over excited and kiss dog training smart dog 2crazy and then we get mad when our dogs can’t calm down or relax in environments outside our home…. Which we call having a “Living Room Dog” Here is a past blog on that topic for those who are interested Click Here for “Living Room Dog” Blog

So just how do we teach patience, impulse control and calm in dogs at this age? Well it is not easy… Lets face it if we did it right we spent 2-4 months making everything fun and reward based around all things and diligently ticked things off our socialization checklist and created confident, happy and well-adjusted puppies that look at the world as their oyster… But we could also have a pup that came from a shelter, who was a stray during the critical socialization period and is and always will be behind the socialization curve (being somewhat fearful and shy)…. In either case we have to shift gears to you and paying attention…. That is where we start teaching Manners!!! And that starts with Hand Feeding and Leash work… Our next 2 blogs will be a blast from the past on Hand Feeding and the Turn Around Game

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