Socialization is critical whether you intend on using your dog for service, therapy, emotional support, or a family pet. Wether you take your dog out in public, or keep them home, people will talk to it, pet it, touch it and sometimes get right in their face. Expect it, and train accordingly.
Socializing your puppy for service or therapy work goes beyond introducing them to typical situations. They must be able to handle the unexpected without any signs of aggression. Puppies raised in the home are handled daily, exposed
to typical household smells, sights and sounds. They should also
be placed in unusual positions, get used to being restrained,
having their feet held, and their toes, ears and tails played with.
As they become more active you can scruff, pick them up or stop
them in their tracks. Get them used to baths, clippers, dryers, nails
clipped, other animals, and small children. It helps if you have a cat
like Phoenix that thinks it is a real treat to be petted by the puppies.
Always make sure the puppies are safe while
you introduce them to people and other animals.
If you have played with their nose, teeth and lips,
they are less likely to freak out the first time a
child grabs them by the face to give them a kiss, to look at their
teeth or investigate to see what is up their nose.
I love the county fair to introduce my dogs to smells, sights and sounds that they might not otherwise be exposed to in a life time. Take your dog for rides in the car. Go to the local feed store, hardware store or pet store. Teach them to settle down while you eat dinner, and walk quietly past other dogs. All of these things help your dog to be a well adjusted member of the family and a joy to be around.
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