- Ben Landkammer
YOU are the most interesting thing in your dog's life (at least you should be...)
Updated: Jun 8, 2021
Advocate For Your Dog. Put in the work. Help him navigate and understand
this crazy world early on, and you both will reap the rewards of your investment.
'Socialization' is an often misused word in dog culture, thrown around by people with good intentions but a misunderstanding of what their pup really needs. Dogs are not accessories, but members of our families from the moment we take them in.
They crave and require leadership, and who better to provide that than you! Our philosophy is that you should be the most interesting thing in your puppy’s world, from the moment you decide which little ball of joy you are going to take home.
As such, effort and investment is required, but will certainly pay dividends over the course of your relationship.
What Socialization IS:
•Their New Environment-Set up your house ahead of time with a crate, cleaning supplies and food.
•Buy a Leash and Collar-Have a fenced in yard? Use the leash and collar for potty time. Have an open yard? Use the leash and collar for potty time.
•Be prepared for potty breaks through the night. A great way to bond with a new pup is to let them sleep with you, should your domestic situation allow. This also lets you be there to get the pup outside should an early morning potty session be required, which will go a long way towards making your house breaking effort a quick success.
•If you can, feed the pup by hand. Remember the title? Puppies are VERY interested in where their next meal comes from. “You pet me, coo over me, take me outside, snuggle me at night AND feed me? You’re the best thing I’ve ever!”
•When you have your puppy comfortable with being around you and have established a bond, start taking him out and exploring new environments. A wooded trail, local park on a quiet day, the brewery deck on a chill afternoon (don’t get stuck there as patron after patron asks you all the same questions and your tab is run up because “Hey! As long as I’m stuck here talking to people I may as well have another beer!” Or three…)
In a nutshell: new Smells, Sights, Sounds and Surfaces.
What Socialization ISN’T:
Meeting ANY new dogs, unless they already live in your house. This point is the commonly held definition of socialization, as evidenced by “Puppy Socialization Classes” held at pet stores across the country. A new dog to a puppy is just something that is bound to be more interesting than you.
A new dog is also a dog that, should things go poorly, will quite possibly set your new puppy up for being dog aggressive-not everyone enjoys having a rambunctious puppy chew on their ears, bat with their paws and bark at them, and more mature dogs will often let a puppy know with a correction. If left unchecked this can escalate into a very negative experience for all parties involved, and lead to long term issues requiring extensive training and behavior modification.
RANT ZONE: Dog Parks.
This point cannot be belabored enough. Taking Fluffy to the dog park and letting her run loose with all the other dogs is NOT socialization-it is a recipe for disaster. No matter how well behaved she is, not every dog at that park is trained, well-mannered, under control or respective of other dogs and their space. Aggression in this high energy environment is common, so ADVOCATE FOR YOUR DOG by never taking her there. Ever. Outside of the issue of being a stressful, uncontrolled environment, effectively every dog park is full of parasites and viruses left by other dogs, whose owners haven’t been so great about keeping up on their vaccinations-and many stay in the soil for YEARS. Even if your dog is current on her shots, there’s no reason to purposefully expose her to a massively contagious environment.
NEVER, EVER. EVEN IF YOU’RE THE ONLY ONES THERE.
If you would like help picking a puppy to make your own, have one on the way or recently brought one home, Calibrated K9 is here to help set you up for success. We offer litter evaluations to help you find the best puppy for your needs, and puppy imprinting through our Board and Train program to get your puppy started on the right paw-whether you are looking for a well-mannered and stable pet, a companion able to protect your family should the need arise, or a full on multi-purpose working K9 that can track missing persons, find drugs or explosives and take the fight to the bad guy.