Socialize Your Dog for Life!

We tend to forget these days that dogs are pack animals.  Many of us may have just one dog, or even two.  But we don’t see them as they were in nature.  Left to their own devices, dogs join up into a pack, often of related animals.  Like their wolf cousins and ancestors, dogs have a hierarchical structure to their packs, with leaders, assistants, subordinates and followers.  In nature dogs would learn everything they need to know, including dog manners, from their mother and other pack mates.

To live in our world of cars, buildings and cell phones, we have taken dogs almost completely out of their natural world.  In many places they exist without even having fields and forests anymore to share with their humans as they did only 100-200 years ago.  The only way they can exist in our world is if we teach them the skills they need to understand it and to thrive in it.  This means we have to socialize them to the human world and to the people in it.

Socialization means much more than learning a few commands.  Socialization is learning, from birth, to accept humans.  Good breeders begin socializing puppies from the day of their birth, picking them up and holding them, stroking them and talking to them, getting them used to sights and sounds in the house.  This should continue for the first seven weeks of life, with puppies being introduced to new things each week.

From the age of 8 weeks to 12 weeks, the time when many people get their new puppy, puppies are going through a fear imprinting stage.  This means that it is very easy at this time for anything that frightens the puppy to be remembered for the rest of their life.  New owners should take special care during this time to bolster their puppy’s confidence.  Do let puppies see new things and introduce them to new places and people.  Give them time to see that there is nothing to be afraid of.  Give plenty of praise when the puppy is brave and curious about things.  Try not to encourage your puppy to be fearful at this time or reward fearful behavior.  If a loud noise or something frightens your puppy, instead of cuddling the puppy take him to see what it is and show him that it’s okay.  Dance, laugh, be positive instead of petting the puppy for being fearful.  This is the difference between a fearful adult dog and a confident one later in life.

Introduce your puppy to many different people during this time to help him learn that he has nothing to fear from strangers and that he can meet them and be friendly.  Take him for short rides in the car.  Introduce many strange things at this time, such as umbrellas and the vacuum cleaner if he has not already encountered them.  Let him see normal things in unexpected places in the house.  Make sure he gets used to being groomed and bathed during this time.  And, of course, make sure he learns some leash training.  This is helpful since he will be going to the vet for his shots during this time.  Makes these pleasant experiences for him (especially bathing) and your future experiences will be much better.

Exercise basic common sense, of course.  Don’t allow your puppy to put himself in any danger while encouraging him to be confident.  Don’t allow him to wander where other animals have left droppings.  Remember that your puppy is not fully vaccinated yet so limit his socialization time with any unknown pets.  Don’t make your puppy do anything that is frightening for him.  Puppies at this age will remember things forever.  You want to encourage confidence, not ask them to do more than they can cope with.  And, remember that your puppy is just a baby at this time.  He needs lots of sleep and several small meals during the day.  You should only have a couple of socialization sessions per day along with things that occur on their own.

The socialization period continues until dogs are about 20 weeks old.  By that time their basic personality is in place, though socialization can continue for months.  You’ll begin to see your puppy making his own decisions about what he wants to do, what he likes and doesn’t like, what frightens him and what he’s confident about.

Early socialization is an extremely important time in the life of every dog.  You can help your dog adapt to living with humans by working with him during this time and make your future life together a very happy one.

Socialize Your Dog for Life courtesy Dog Articles.

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10 Pet Safety Tips You Should Know

In some ways having a pet is like having a child.  You have to do all of the thinking and planning for him.  You have to be prepared for every contingency.  That means being prepared in case of emergencies and taking the proper precautions ahead of time.

Here are some tips that should help you take good care of your dog:

1.  Make sure that your dog is up-to-date on his vaccinations and that he has proper tags and ID at all times.  Microchips are recommended.  This is a great help should your dog ever become lost.  It gives him the best possible chance of being returned to you if somebody finds him.

2.  Obey leash laws.  This means that you should keep your dog safely contained in your own yard behind a fence.  When you have your dog out with you make sure that he is restrained on a good quality leash.  Don’t let your dog run loose.  This is dangerous to him and a nuisance to the neighborhood.

3.  Be careful what you feed your dog.  No chocolate.  No onions.  No raisins.  If in doubt about something your dog eats or if you suspect poisoning call your local veterinarian immediately.  Know the number of your closest emergency vet clinic and the shortest route in case you have an emergency at night.

4.  Crate train your dog.  Your dog should ride in a crate in your vehicle.  This is the safest way for your dog to travel.  Crate training is also a great way to help house train your dog.  If you ever intend to fly anywhere with your dog he will also need to fly in a crate.

5.  Keep a pet first aid kit on hand and know how to use the contents.  A good first aid kit should contain blankets, surgical tape, a muzzle, an antibacterial ointment (such as Neosporin), cotton swabs, tweezers, gauze and gauze pads, hydrogen peroxide, ipecac, scissors, forceps, diarrhea medication, and activated charcoal.  Remember that if your dog experiences an injury that he may react out of fear or pain.  Be careful in handling him.  He could bite you accidentally.

6.  Take special precautions in hot summer weather and during extreme cold.  Remember that dogs can’t sweat and that they suffer during extremes of weather just as people do.  They should not be left in vehicles during either extreme, even for a few minutes.

7.  Remember that your dog needs fresh water available at all times.  Dogs can become dehydrated just as people can.

8.  Take special precautions with dogs when there may be fireworks or other loud noises.  Many dogs are sensitive to these loud booms and can become frightened from them.  Some dogs can bolt and become lost.

9.  Old dogs need special care.  Keep an eye on their weight.  You don’t want them to be either too thin or too much overweight.  Both can be signs of an underlying health problem.  Make allowances for their age.  Provide a softer place to sleep, give them more time to eat, make their food more appealing.  Take them for a senior check-up starting when they’re about seven-years-old.

10.  Be patient with puppies.  They come to you not knowing anything.  They will make mistakes.  Teach them using positive training techniques and they will be able to learn anything you want to teach them.  A trained dog is a happier dog and has a better chance of fitting into your home and lifestyle and living a wonderful life with you.

10 Pet Safety Tips You Should Know courtesy Dog Articles.

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My Dog Won’t Listen To Me

Bringing home a new puppy is very exciting but we often forget that a new puppy doesn’t know very much.  He’s still a baby.  His mother and siblings have taught him a few things about being a dog but when it comes to understanding people, he’s a rank beginner.

It doesn’t matter how many times you tell him, “NO!” or “OFF!”  Your puppy hasn’t yet learned what these words mean.  He doesn’t even know his name yet.  He really has no idea what it means when you tell him to lie down or leave something alone.

Your puppy will quickly become very good at reading your body language and understanding the tone of your voice but you will have to patiently teach him each word and phrase that you want him to know.  Puppies aren’t born knowing English or any other language.  It’s up to you to teach him the basic vocabulary.

If you are adopting an adult dog then he will also have to learn some things when he comes to living with you.  He may know some basic words and phrases, especially if he has been housebroken already.  But your family will probably have some words that are unknown to him.  There may be some new rules that he doesn’t know yet.  It will take a little time for your new dog to learn the new words for things.  He may know some things by other names — “bathroom” for “potty,” or “dinner” for “supper,” and so on.  Try different words for things and see if he gives a reaction.  You may find the words that he knows.

On the other hand, there are times when your puppy or dog does know certain words and may choose to ignore you.  If you have been training your puppy or dog and you know that he knows the word “Sit” but he won’t sit for you, then there may be something wrong with your training methods.  Most likely your training is inconsistent.  You may not train very often and your dog doesn’t see any reason why he should obey the command when it is only used once in a while.  In these situations you should train more often so your dog will take the training more seriously.

If you let your dog sleep on your bed six nights in a row and on the seventh night you tell him very sternly that he’s not allowed on the bed, the chances are that he’s not going to take you seriously.  Training is the same way.  If you want your dog to listen to you then you must be consistent in what you tell your dog and in what you expect him to obey.  Be consistent, use the same words for things, and always be fair.  You must also train regularly so that your dog knows you are committed to what you are teaching him.

If you are inconsistent or you don’t train very often, then your dog is apt to ignore you.

Remember that your puppy isn’t born knowing any language at all.  Like human children, puppies have to learn the meaning of words.  They cannot hope to learn any training until they begin to understand some words in the home.  Fortunately, puppies learn very quickly and they can start to learn all that we have to teach them — and some things we don’t mean to teach them.  Your puppy will begin listening to you as soon as he is able.  It’s up to you to teach him things that are worth learning.

My Dog Won’t Listen To Me courtesy Dog Articles.

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Why Behavior Training Is A Must For Your New Dog

You’ve just gotten a new puppy or dog, obedience training should begin right away or as soon as possible. By beginning your training early, you will start your dog off on the right foot to learning his rules and boundaries, so that he will know what is considered to be, acceptable behavior and what is not. The rules and knowledge that both you and your dog will learn and acquire in obedience training must be reinforced and constantly reminded throughout the dog’s life in order for it to be successful.

Training courses are most effective when there is plenty of owner participation and interaction, this will enable the owner to continue the journey themselves once the course has been completed. By being consistent, the goal of a well behaved dog will be achieved. Being firm and using correction as needed and praise and rewards when he’s doing well, will help you obtain this goal. Be sure to address any undesirable behavior with your training instructor. During obedience training, your dog may find and make new friends. The first three months of a puppy’s life is when they are most pliable and can be molded into a sociable dog that can readily form relationships.

If a dog is socialized as a young puppy but later on isn’t the given opportunity to be around other dogs into adulthood may forget his social learning and become aggressive or fearful of others. This is best prevented by continuing to have him around others and allowing him the opportunity to play throughout his lifetime. From there, take your new family member everywhere you can with you, for rides in the car, for walks, to the park and in public as much as possible. In keeping a steady routine you will help your dog realize that this is a part of normal everyday life, so that he will not feel threatened or fearful, get overly excited or become aggressive.

By gradually introducing your new best friend to the world around him, applying and putting the rules you have learned for him into practice, you will gradually turn your dog into a polite and well mannered pleasure to be around, for both you and the public so that you can take him anywhere without worry or concern as to whether he will misbehave. A responsible dog owner should value his/her dog’s behavior as how others will view him and other dog owners. A well mannered dog doesn’t growl or bark relentlessly at people or other dogs and animals around him. He doesn’t tug and pull at his leash, jump on others, or on things he shouldn’t.

Mounting is not an acceptable behavior either. Spayed or neutered dogs also will do best in public situations and around other unfamiliar dogs for several reasons. Aggression will be greatly reduced, marking (if neutered or spayed early) will not be near the problem it would be otherwise, mounting should disappear and there will be much less unwanted puppies to worry about. Wandering will also most likely cease.

Why Behavior Training Is A Must For Your New Dog courtesy Dog Articles.

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Why is Puppy Socialization and Training Important?

So you’ve made a decision to get a puppy, you have evaluated your choices of breed and are ready to bring your puppy home. This is a commitment and one that should be happy and loving for everyone involved. When your puppy is not trained or socialized that relationship becomes strained and begins to lose its fun. Over the course of your dogs life it will meet many people and other animals, it’ll be exposed to people walking their dogs, bike riders, baby strollers, other dogs and cats as well as situations that may cause stress and fear so it is necessary to begin puppy training to socialize them and keep them and you happy and healthy.

When a puppy is not trained it begins to form its own habits based on its environment. Some of these habits may turn into negative behaviors like being protective of food and toys, growling at strangers or even biting them, fighting with other dogs, urinating and defecating in the house, begging at the table and other bad habits that could have been avoided with puppy training. Puppy training can begin with the breeder. Puppies 8-12 weeks are particularly absorbent when it comes to training. Even at birth they have instincts that kick in and begin to learn how to interact with their litter mates, mother and people who handle them. As they grow they go through an imprinting stage when puppy training is more easily accepted. There are four main commands that every puppy should be taught.

They are sit, stay, come and no. It is important to keep puppy training and socialization experiences positive. Introducing your puppy to people is a good way to start the socialization and is fairly easy. After all, who doesn’t like a puppy? By introducing new people, places, things and other animals to your puppy you can prevent a lot of negative behaviors that may develop over time. Through puppy training and socialization, your puppy should learn that you are dominant over them. They should be friendly towards those who you let into your home and not be afraid of them (particularly people with beards and hats). You should be able to take food, toys and dangerous objects out of their mouths. They should not be fearful or aggressive. They should be comfortable on a leash.

They should be housebroken. They shouldn’t suffer from separation anxiety and understand that you will come back. Puppy training your pet to be confident while you are away, not to chew on people or destroy property, to come when called and stay when needed among other things will help to keep your sanity. Puppy training is important to start your relationship out on a good note and keep a better bond between you and your dog for many years to come. Puppy training is essential to your dogs care and the training should continue and be reinforced throughout their lives. Puppy training and socialization is also important in keeping your dog happy, healthy and safe. When they know how to react to certain situations there is less of a chance for a negative incident to occur. Lea Mullins talks about importance of socialization in puppy training.

Why is Puppy Socialization and Training Important courtesy Dog Articles.

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Hunting Dogs and Hand Signals

Training a hunting dog with hand signals is very practical. This can be mixed with verbal commands, when you are initially training your dog, which will reinforce the hand gestures. Though hand signals can be successfully used as the only training method and is a way to train a deaf dog or one that can’t hear well.

You can cue your dog to take a certain action using hand signals. There are several reasons that hand signals are better than using verbal commands with a hunting dog.

When you are hunting, your dog will many times be distanced from you. He might just take off running. Maybe you are in the field with him or on an agility course and he is too far away to hear a verbal command. If he is trained with hand signals, he will watch for your command. It is more probable he will see the hand gesture.

Hand signals are a way to tell the dog what action to take and be quiet. When dogs are worked up, they don’t respond as well to verbal commands, but they do respond  to visual signals. Their listening response is low, but their desire to watch is up. Dogs sometimes just ignore verbal commands but obey visual cues.

Focus is the basis of training your dog. When your dog  is aware that he must look at you to see what you want him to do, then his focus is attuned to you more than if he is listening for the command. Watching for your command makes him less distracted. This makes training him easier to do. When you train your dog with hand signals be consistent. Use the same hand signal for a certain command at all times.

The reason dogs respond so well to hands signals or cues is that it is a type of body language. Dogs already communicate with other dogs through body language; your dog communicates with you through body language like showing his belly to say you are dominant or nudging your hand to get petted.

These are a few of the usual hand training commands.

– Stay: Stretch your hand out at shoulder height. Your palm should face out towards your dog. It looks like the signal given by a crossing guard for traffic to stop.

– Come: There are two ways to perform this hand command. Hold both arms out in front of you and next bring them in and touch your stomach. Or stretch one arm out parallel to the ground and then bring your arm inward and touch your opposite shoulder. Either method should be performed slowly until your dog has caught on to the signal. After that, you can do it quicker.

– Sit: Put your arm to your side with your fingers pointing towards the ground. Move your hand in an arch that goes across your dog’s face and over his head. Hold a treat so that he will naturally follow the movement of your hand. This will cause him to naturally sit down.

– Down: This can be an exaggerated movement, if you like. Point your finger down or raise your hand up some first and point downward.

Remember to reinforce these hand signals with verbal commands at first.

Hunting Dogs and Hand Signals courtesy Dog Articles.

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