Tag Archives: Animal shelter

Socializing dogs

17 Jul
About.com offered these two articles about socializing dogs that are very helpful  The first is for puppies and the second addresses adult dogs.  Below that is an ariticle written by Nikki Litwin on Cesar Milan’s site.  These are all great articles and very helpful if you are having struggles getting your dogs to make friends and influence other canines….
 

Dogs are social animals and live in packs.  They have

How Should a Puppy Be Socialized?

Socialization should involve as many people and situations as possible. Introduce your puppy to a wide variety of people, including men, women, children of all ages, people in wheelchairs, men with beards, and people wearing all kinds of clothing (e.g., uniforms, sunglasses, raincoats and umbrellas, hats and gloves, etc.). Before your puppy has gotten all of his vaccinations, you can begin to socialize him by inviting people to your home to meet him.

Handling exercises are another important part of socializing. Think the ways your dog may be handled in his lifetime – a child could pull his tail, a veterinarian might need to restrain him, you may need to hold his feet to clip his nails. If you get your puppy used to being handled in a gentle manner now, you will be less likely to have trouble handling him when he has reached adulthood.

Once your veterinarian approves taking your puppy to new places, you can begin socializing him outside your home. This is a good time to get him used to riding in the car, meeting other dogs, visiting the groomer and pet supply store, and taking walks in your neighborhood.

Socialization should always be kept positive. Allow your puppy to approach new things in his own time. You can use treats and praise to encourage your puppy to approach unfamiliar people and objects. Never push your puppy past his comfort level or he may become fearful of the things you are trying to get him to accept.

ADULT DOGS

The good news is that it is fairly easy to socialize an adult dog. Here are some ideas for making sure your dog gets plenty of socialization throughout his life:

  • Take regular walks in places your dog will get to meet other people and animals.
  • Visit the dog park.
  • Invite over friends and their dogs for playdates.
  • Enroll your dog in a dog daycare once or twice a week.

It’s important that all of your dog’s interactions with other people and animals be kept as positive as possible. Use praise and treats to tell your dog that having other people and animals around is a good thing.

How and When To Socialize Written by Nikki Litwin

Socializing dogs is a hot topic among trainers, breeders, and vets. Do we risk their health and take the puppy out and about? Or do we protect them and isolate them until they have all their shots?

I believe there is a happy middle ground. As a breeder, trainer, and rescue volunteer, I have been in the unique position to see the benefits of early socialization and the consequences of early isolation. Puppies go through many emotional and developmental stages in a very short amount of time. There is a “window of opportunity” to achieve the most benefit from early socialization and unfortunately, that “window” does not always coincide with the completion of their shots.

So how do we get around that? Here are a few suggestions to help you socialize your new pup as well as protect him until his shots are complete.

It is always a good idea to consult with your vet to make sure your puppy is in good health at all times. Most puppies stay with their mothers until they are 7 to 12 weeks old. That is a crucial time for the pup to learn about doggie manners and to begin the bond with people. They learn about bite inhibition from the mom and the other pups. When they bite each other in play, they learn that biting too hard can have consequences. If you have a puppy that did not have that learning lesson, you can imitate that lesson by yelping loudly when your pup bites you. The noise will startle them and make them realize that they hurt you.

Only when the dog returns to a calm, relaxed state, should you give him something appropriate to bite and chew on. This is their reward, as well as a distraction. You want them to concentrate on that object, but only when there is no confusion about the behavior you’re rewarding. If you give it to them too soon, they may mistake the “treat” or toy, as a consequence for being over-excited and biting. Practice this every time they start to get too involved with chewing on or biting you, especially when playing with them.

Meeting people and experiencing new situations is most critical during the 3 to 12 month old period. It is something that dogs need their whole life to stay social and to be reminded that our modern and busy society is a good and safe place, but it is most critical during that ever-changing developmental stage. A good goal with your pup is to make sure they meet at least five new people every week. You can do this by inviting neighbors, friends, or your children’s friends over and having them bring a toy or treat for your pup when they visit. Even better would be to teach your pup to sit before receiving these “gifts” and then you are teaching greeting manners as well as socializing! If you have a limited pool of people to work with, have them come over wearing hats, sunglasses, costumes, strong cologne…anything that would make them look and smell different to the pup.

Puppies also need to experience new situations and environments when they are young. Show your pup the world in a positive and fun way. The secret is to avoid taking them to places where you are likely to run into strange dogs with no known shot history (therefore potentially exposing them to parvo or other dangerous viruses). As a rule, dog parks should be avoided for pups who haven’t received all of their shots yet.

Have them on leash on your front yard when the neighborhood is most busy. Play with them, feed them yummy treats, and let them watch the world go by at a distance where they can be curious but not frightened. If something seems to make them especially nervous, find a distance where they can feel comfortable and work with them till they can move closer without fear. This is also a good time to teach and practice off-leash skills, such as “stay” and “come.” Pups that learn boundaries early in life will be that much more disciplined as they get older.

Take your pup to the pet store and let them “shop” through the store. Let them smell and explore. This is an area of high distraction, so keep your own toy or treats with you to focus them on you and practice attention work with them. If someone wants to visit with your pup, that is a perfect time to practice your greeting manners and introduce them to a new person at the same time. If you are not comfortable with them being on the floor, bring a piece of cardboard to fit in the bottom of the shopping cart and let them ride through the store. This is a particularly good approach for small breeds as they won’t feel so intimidated if people want to lean over them.

Go for coffee or ice cream with the family. Take the pup and let them watch the world go by while you are enjoying your time. Take a towel or small blanket with you and a special toy or treats for the pup to bring the focus back to you and teach the pup to stay on their “spot.” Again, look for those opportunities to work on greeting skills with strangers, and remember that the best time to do activities like this is after some good exercise! Go for a long walk or run before asking a puppy to stay still for an extended amount of time.

A great toy to take along is a Kong stuffed with peanut butter that has been frozen. The pup will lie down and work at getting that peanut butter out and be calm for quite a long time. Bring a plastic, zip lock bag to store the Kong for travel. It keeps things neat and tidy!!

Socializing can be easy and fun and should be part of the total approach to training your new pup. Begin training early and begin socializing even earlier. Enjoy the process – you will soon have the most perfect, balanced, friendly pup that everyone adores!

Nikki Litwin is the owner of Total Dog Training in Los Angeles. She has been training dogs for 22 years and specializes in proper puppy raising and rehabilitating shy dogs. Her passion for dogs includes showing and competing with her German wirehaired pointers and Cavalier King Charles spaniels.

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Tornado’s, natural disasters, and our Dogs, Cats and other Pets

24 May

So, how is all this tragedy working for you?  It has been incredible.  For many unbearable.  The toll on the people is sad, tragic, and everyone needs our prayers – and honestly help.  Money, time, effort, assistance, clothes, food, anything.  The need is great.

Don’t forget the animal shelters that are taking in the lost and injured animals.  The influx of animals and the increased costs are a strain.  To help keep the quality of care as good as possible these shelters need to close the gap on what monies they have and what they now need.  Donations of toys, crates, food, food, food, liter, blankets, and of course money really will  help. 

It will take time to reunite owners, if they can be found.  It will take time for the owners to be able to be in a position to take the pets back in some cases.  These animals need help, medical attention, and affection.  They also provide affection, but also a good stability for their families that have lost homes and communities.  The comfort and companionship they give provides normalcy and familiarity.  When someone is looking at a destroyed home, losses of everything they have – but their family and pets are by their side – there is a different perspective.  The ‘bright side’ is able to be found.  “At least we are all together and safe” is heard a lot.  You can rebuild a structure – but family…all members…. are irreplaceable. 

They are so necessary to people who have them.  They fill voids, close gaps, elevate moods, comfort a heart, and calm spirits.

In some cases these storms take the animals.  They get lost, injured, and sometimes the horrible loss.  If you are a pet owner, and you prepare for unexpected events, don’t forget the animals too.  Go to the red cross for advise on how to prepare for your pets during a natural disaster – or other big unexpected event.  A little preparation can go a long way.

God Bless the people going through these hard times.  God Bless our country.  God Bless everyone who is stepping up and helping in what every capacity they are able.  God Bless our dogs, cats, and other pets.