Diamonds in the Ruff
Resources for New Puppy Owners
We understand how important it is to get your puppy off to a good start. Here are some suggestions to help you bridge the gap between now and the first week of puppy class:
Check out these great articles:
The First Thing to Teach Your Puppy
The Second Thing to Teach Your Puppy
Impulse Control-Impulse Control-Impulse Control, and
Puppies Need an Off Switch!
OUCH! Help for your Alligator Puppy
What Socialization is, and is NOT
Home schooling with one of our personal trainers.
Contact one of our amazing trainers. They will set up a one-on-one consult to meet your personal needs at our studio or via Zoom.
Our rolling admission
Puppy Games and Confidence Sessions are
ON HOLD DUE TO COVID-19 - STAY TUNED
"Puppy Start Right" by Kenneth & Debbie Martin
"Life Skills for Puppies" - a great book for kids and parents
Great books for parents:
"Please Don't Bite the Baby (and please don't chase the dog)"
What about socialization?
COVID-19 has made it a little more difficult to expand your puppy's social world.
We will be posting links and information to help you on this page. Check back often!
Here are some links to help you:
How do you socialize your puppy during a pandemic?
It isn't that different from raising a puppy a year ago. The biggest difference is, we aren't having social gatherings in our homes so your puppy isn't experiencing visitors.
While we shouldn't be visiting our family and friends, it doesn't mean our puppies can't! Aunt Martha is probably lonely and would love to puppy sit while you go shopping for her!
Do you have friends who have healthy, vaccinated, social and friendly dogs who are good with puppies? There is nothing better than a good mentor. Set up play dates! Of course, you will choose your puppy's friends wisely and be sure that they are safe from bad experiences and bad examples! The best play dates are hanging out together, sniffing around the yard, interspersed with fun romps, not constant revved up knock-down wrestling matches. He's not there to play, he's there to practice good manners and learn to share. Play dates are really about being in a new environment with all the new smells and sounds and becoming confident and relaxed wherever they go.
It's still possible to socialize your puppy through passive socialization rather than direct puppy-to-dog / puppy-to-human interaction. The ultimate goal of all socialization is that the puppies remain neutral, focused on their owner, not over-excited wanting to say hi to everyone and every thing. Your puppy is learning to be calm instead of over-stimulated in new situations and around new people and animals. There is a benefit to not allowing your puppy to rush up to every dog and squealing, "can I pet your puppy?" human. Of course, they do need to see and sniff and say 'hello' to a wide variety of humans, big and small, but in a safe way, for both of you.
The best thing about passive interaction is the cautious puppy gets more time to observe and acclimate without being swarmed or overwhelmed. He has the choice to say 'hello' or not, and leave when he's done. Appropriate social distance is the length of his 6 foot leash (or a 4 foot leash, plus your extended arm.) If he decides to venture to the end of his leash to go see someone six feet away, it preserves your safe social distance - and he's able to retreat back to his own comfort zone if and when he needs to without being followed. Is yours an excitable puppy? Simply shorten that distance to keep him from jumping all over the person and allow him more time to acclimate and his emotions to settle down. You can take this time to explain how you would like them to greet your pup so he will be more successful when you do let him say 'hello' to that person in the park. Keep meetings short, at a polite distance, and move on.
Out for a walk - start by not going anywhere.
Once the vet says it's safe to go to the park, drive there and just get out and sit on a park bench and let him take it all in, from your lap if that's where he feels safest. If he seems curious, set him down and just let him explore as much as he wants, or not. If he needs to sit between your feet, fine.
Remember, he can't explore or play if he doesn't feel safe. Praise him for bravery. If he wants to follow the scents, cool. If he wants to pick up a stick and drag it around and chase leaves, even better. These are signs that he feels safe enough to have a good time. This is your goal! Tomorrow, go find a new park. Stick to quiet places at first and gradually work up to places where there are people and traffic.
At this point in his life, it's less about how well he walks on leash, but how comfortable and safe he feels. It's not about how far you go, but how often he simply gets out of the house to sniff around new environments. Leaving the safety of home is hard. If he needs to stop and take it all in to be sure it's safe or decides it's just too much and he'd like to head back the way he came, that's fine, too. Keep the leash slack - it should only become taught if you need to use it as a brake pedal to keep him safe or stop him from going where he doesn't belong, like into the street. Don't let him rush into the space of another dog - even if the owner says it's friendly. You don't know if that dog is healthy or safe.
Click HERE to download your
Puppy Socialization Check List!
The Pet Professional Guild
Puppy Educational Resources
How to Socialize a Puppy With Other Dogs, Humans, Sounds and Places
You CAN get your pup out to see the world before they've had all their shots. Take them for a walk. Just don't put them on the ground!
A small pup can be tucked inside your jacket or a baby sling and a too-heavy-to-carry pup can be pushed in a stroller. Introduce both modes of transportation at home where they feel safe before you set out for a walk around the neighborhood or a hardware store.
Seek out positive experiences:
Seeing new things
Hearing new things
Smelling new things
Watching people and animals
Start slow. Avoid overwhelming situations. If your puppy is cautious, choose quiet places. If your puppy seems uncomfortable, increase your distance from scary things. Take your time. The goal of socialization is building confidence and resiliency.
One of our favorite dog trainers, Emily Larlham, has an amazing video channel. SO MUCH GREAT INFORMATION here!
Everyone says my puppy needs lots of "SOCIALIZATION"!
What is "Socialization"? It's way more than meeting other dogs!