My dog, Geo, was born in an animal shelter and lived there for the first 5 months of his life. He is sweet and goofy, friendly with dogs, cats, and people, but terribly fearful.
He is fearful of everything, especially sudden, sharp noises and anything I might carry—hats, purses, umbrellas, water hoses, tote bags of any kind—you name it. I don’t believe he was ever beat by a woman in a floppy hat carrying a black polka dot tote bag. I do believe some of it is his personality and most of it is that he missed the crucial time in his life when socialization to the real world would have benefitted him most.
Puppies and young dogs need to be slowly exposed to more and more to help them develop skills to cope with new experiences. It’s important to get puppies out and about as soon as possible after you get clearance from your Veterinarian at puppy’s first exam and start their vaccinations. You will want to take your puppy to only select places for short visits. Avoid areas where other dogs frequent, you want to protect your puppy from communicable disease and injury. As your dog gets older and is exposed to more situations, and had the full course of puppy vaccinations, you can take him more places. Here are ideas:
Puppies: Car rides to the store, through the bank drive through—Banner Bank tellers always have good treats, coffee booths—The Coffee Bean, Hot Shots, and Creswell Coffee are animal lovers, your Veterinarian’s office to get weighed and cuddled by the staff—the clinic staff and your dog will thank you, or the hardware store, Cascade Home Center is very welcoming to leashed dogs.
Have a puppy party at your house—invite a couple friends or neighbors at a time to help with your puppy’s skills-sitting politely for visitors. People love to help train puppies. The most important place to take a puppy is a puppy kindergarten class. They will experience a little training, lots of handling, a variety of noises, objects and textures, people, and other puppies.
Young or older dogs: Hiking, parks, festivals or farmer’s markets, animal shelter fundraising events, pet stores, patio seating at restaurants, a stroll downtown. Take your older dog’s training level up a notch—a group dog class.
I‘m sure you can things of other places to take your puppy or dog. Make sure to call ahead to ask if the presence of your dog is appropriate. Don’t introduce your dog to a new situation without a plan in case he showed distress—fear, excessive barking or whining, hiding. If he is showing fear that can’t be soothed, be ready to cut short the visit. With a little advanced preparation, you and your dog can have an enjoyable outing.
Socialization is an important part of training. While you are out, you will be working on car ride management, walking on a leash, sits/downs, and your dog learning to be polite in public. Socialized dogs are in general happier and can handle stress better throughout their life.
Rock Nest Training & Pet Care LLC is offering group training classes. We are available by email or call us at 541-895-3162. And be sure to like our Facebook page!