Let’s move right on to the next Mistake. So many dog owners miss this step. I spend the
majority of my time trying to resolve the Mistakes made with improper socialization,
and it can be one of the most difficult problems to resolve. The Mistake is being
completely unprepared to provide proper socialization for our dogs.
Dogs crave good parental guidance. And if you take a puppy away from their parents,
then you are now their parent and must provide proper guidance in order for your dog
to be balanced, healthy and happy.
Some people forget that dogs don’t come already
trained. They think they should already know
how to behave in all situations and somehow
become the perfect pet as they get older. We’re
expecting that perfect, well-mannered, easy
going, affectionate dog to suddenly appear when
they’re one year old, but they’re not perfect yet.
So we wait until the dog is two years old. Hmmm,
not quite there yet. Maybe at three years?
You know, after the dog is about five years old, people start thinking, “Hmmm. When
are they supposed to grow up? When are they going to mature? Aren’t they supposed
to grow out of those behaviors and become the wonderful dog that we thought they
were going to be or become more like the other dog we had? We’ve been putting up
with these problems all this time, and they’ve still not figured it out.” Instead, maybe
we need to figure it out, right?
Puppies aren’t born knowing how to be the perfect domesticated dog in your
household. Learning how to be appropriate in all situations, what good manners are,
what’s wanted or needed from it – that is the hallmark of good training and proper
socialization from calm, stable assertive family members and pack Leaders.
Taking on a puppy means that you’re taking on the role of that dog’s parents with all
the responsibilities of teaching that baby all the rules in a way that it can understand.
There is a critical development stage in every puppy’s life – between 2 and 6 months
old – when certain lessons can be most easily be learned.
You must provide safety and protection
for that puppy. You have to teach them
how to play. You have to teach them
how to interact with other dogs and how
to get along with other species like cats
and birds – and even human children!
You have to teach them how to respect
authority and follow guidance (their
mothers can do a lot of this if you leave
the puppy with them long enough).
Finally you have to come up with and prepare lesson plans (like their canine pack
members would) that are appropriate to their age, paying careful attention to help
the puppy feel safe and protected, how to create and enhance that puppy’s feelings
of self-confidence, and how to create trust in authority figures that’s going to foster
a willingness to follow guidance. If you do your job properly, training will never be a
problem, and you will have a dog friend who is a joy for everyone to be around.
You have to learn how to communicate in a way that includes body language, telepathy,
emotion, scent, cues and signals from a dog’s viewpoint.
Did you know that exuberance in a dog doesn’t necessarily mean they are happy? It means
they are excited and their nervous system is hyper-stimulated. Their sympathetic nervous
system is on high alert, very similar to when they are in danger, are anxious or afraid.
If you don’t properly prepare your puppy through training and other careful socialization
or allow too intense, unsafe confrontations with other beings or put them into situations before you’ve prepared them, before you’ve created self-confidence and an
understanding in them of what the appropriate behavior is, then you’re going to set
your puppy up to have a very difficult life, whether they stay with you or move on to