I was in Woodstock last Thursday with a new Home Dog Training client and his Labradoodle named Wally.  Wally was twelve weeks old and just beginning feel his oats.  Our initial session went very well and my client quickly understood that once he took over the “mommy” role in providing safety and securing a strong and lasting bond with Wally, life would be great for everyone.  He was excited and eager to work on the exercises we practiced and guidelines we implemented.  I told him that this was all great, but he had one more very important task to perform with Wally.

Obedience and behavior are very important tasks when it comes to dog training.  When we are dealing with puppies, an even bigger and critical task involves socialization.  All the knowledge in the world does not mean a thing if you are completely nuts and petrified of the environment in which you are living.  This is where socialization comes to the forefront.

When we were young, our mommy took us to the market, drove us in the car, took us to her friends, enrolled us in preschool or kindergarten, set up play dates with her friends’ kids, etc.  None of these activities involved memorizing letters or understanding that one and one is two.

The purpose of all these actions was to get us used to the world around us.  We needed to get used to sights and sounds.  We needed to get used to how things happened around us.  We needed to get used to interacting with other creatures like us.   The more we “got used” to what was normal, the more relaxed we became with our environment and what we expected.  On the flip side, it we suddenly experienced a situation that we were not used to, we could step back to a point of safety to observe.  This is our natural “safety valve” taking over based on our natural sense of self preservation.

Our puppies have this same need of socialization for the exact same goal of understanding what is normal and safe. We need to allow them to experience the world in which they will live so that they will understand how to act and how to protect themselves.

I suggest that my clients spend several days logging their activities.  I want them to write down where they go, who they see, what noises they hear, transportation they take, times they are at specific locations, etc.  Once they have compiled this list, they need start including their new puppy with every one of those sights, sounds, smells, and locations.

They should not rush the process.  Always have their puppy near them on a leash or in their arms.  As soon as they see their puppy start to become nervous or lose focus on them, they should give the puppy a little nudge to focus the puppy back to them.  This action of redirected focus encourages their puppy to associate that, no matter what, all is fine.

They should continue this process with their entire list until the puppy is fine with their environment and the things contained in that environment.  At this point, whey can extend their socialization training to activities where they are not always present with the puppy.

These actions could include puppy day care or play dates with neighborhood puppies.  Again, it needs to start slow and proceed based upon success.  The process would start with, for example, going to doggie day care.  The owner initially stays in sight to allow the puppy to interact but see that “mommy is there”.  Once the puppy is calm, the owner can then leave for a while.

I told my client that socialization is a never ending process that needs to be done on a consistent basis throughout Wally’s lifetime.  As long as he maintains control of the situation and always provides a safe learning experience, he and Wally will be successful.

Please call us at (770) 718-7704 it you are in need of any dog training help.  We have a lot of good dog training advice at Best Dog Trainers Woodstock Georgia.  Find all our phone numbers, text addresses and email contacts at Dog Training Help Center Woodstock Georgia.