Friday, August 21, 2015

Puppy Socialization

First this was a list of sevens (attributed to Susan Hughes), which has since been expanded by others to a list of twelves.   I have collected from several sources and it is now even larger…

Ideally your puppy would have a positive experience with each of these things by the time they are twelve weeks old.  If your dog/puppy is older, it is still beneficial to expose him/her to these different things.  Make sure it is a positive experience and don’t push the puppy into facing something s/he isn’t ready for.  Use lots of praise anc if your puppy is concerned, go slow and increase distance until s/he shows they are ready for more.

If you need additional guidance, your dog/puppy seems more than just a little concerned, or is becoming more afraid/concerned – contact a dog trainer who uses only reward based methods for assistance.
  • Experienced 12 different surfaces: wood, woodchips, carpet, tile, cement, linoleum, grass, wet grass, dirt, mud, puddles, deep pea gravel, grates, a table (vet visits), on a chair, uneven surfaces, etc.
  • Introduced-to/played-with 12 different objects: toys (fuzzy and rubber), balls (big and small), hard toys, funny sounding toys, metal items, statues, balloons, wooden items, paper or cardboard items, milk jugs, car keys, etc.
  • Experienced 12 different locations: front yard (daily), other people’s homes, school yard, lake, pond, river, boat, basement, elevator, car, moving car, garage, laundry room, boarding kennel, shopping plazas, veterinary hospital (just to say hi & visit, lots of cookies, no vaccinations), grooming salon (just to say hi), etc.
  • Met and played with 12 new people (outside the family): children, adults (a LOT of men),  elderly adults, people in wheelchairs, walkers, people with canes, crutches, hats, uniforms, sunglasses, etc.
  • Exposed to 12 different noises (ALWAYS keep things fun and watch the puppy’s comfort level - we don’t want the puppy scared): garage door opening, doorbell, phone ringing, children playing, crying baby, big trucks, motorbikes, Harley motorcycle, skateboards, washing machine, clapping, lawnmowers, shopping carts rolling, power boat, clapping, loud singing, pan dropping, horses neighing, cow mooing, chicken clucking, vacuums, lawnmowers, birthday party, etc.
  • Exposed to 12 fast-moving objects (don’t allow them to chase!): skateboards, roller-skates, bicycles, motorcycles, cars, running people, running cats, running squirrels, running horses, running cows, scooters, vacuum not on moving, vacuum on and moving, children running, children playing, teens playing soccer, football, 
  • Experienced 12 different challenges: climb on/in/off/around a box, go through a cardboard tunnel, climb up and down steps, climb over obstacles, go in and out a doorway with a step, go through an electric sliding door, climb over a log, go into a bathtub (and bath), get in and out of a car, play hide & seek, exposed to umbrella, moving balloons, walk on a wobble board (plank of wood with a small rock or limb underneath), jump over a broom, climb over and on a log, bathtub (and bath), shower stall, etc.
  • Handled 12 different ways each week for 12 weeks (only do as much as puppy is comfortable with, slower is better): held under someone’s arm like a football, hold to chest, hold still on floor near owner, hold in lap, held between owner’s legs, handle and hold head, look in ears, look in mouth, look between toes, examine “privates”, take temperature, hold like a baby, manipulate paws as if to trim toenails, etc. Add predictability by saying what you are about to do (for example “Ears” – touch ear – treat). If the puppy moves away, you’re pushing too quickly. Back it up and work at the puppy’s pace.
  • Eaten from 12 different shaped containers: wobbly bowl, metal dish, cardboard box, paper plates/bowls, coffee cup, china, pie plate, plastic dish/container, frying pan, Kong, Treatball, Bustercube, spoon fed, paper bag, hand fed, etc.
  • Eaten in 12 different locations: back yard, front yard, crate, kitchen, basement, laundry room, bathroom, friend’s house, car, school yard, bathtub, up high (on work bench), under umbrella, etc.
  • Been left alone safely (in crate) away from family and other animals (5-45 minutes) 12 times a week
  • Been left alone safely (in crate) near family members (5-45 minutes) 12 times a week.
  • Played with 12 different puppies (or safe adult dogs) as much as possible. [This does NOT mean at the dog park.]
  • Experienced a leash and collar or leash and harness 12 different times in 12 different locations.