Socialisation

When owners get their puppy they are often so intent on ‘socialising’ it that they let him play without interruption with other dogs, letting it jump all over them or whatever it wants to do. It becomes a case of letting him off the lead down the park pleased when it goes it play with this, that and the other dogs and he’s quite easy to get back/catch because puppies are quite biddable and still feel instinctively reliant on their owners for protection.

As a few months go by he starts to feel more confident and his instinct for protection diminishes. His recall is fantastic in the house because there is no competition for his attention. He knows what ‘come’ means so what can go wrong?

Back to the park. You let him off the lead, he runs to play with other dogs and won’t come back. Why? Because he has been taught from puppyhood to run and play as much as he wants with other dogs.

From the start, when he goes to the park play, play, play with him. Continue his basic training with titbits/toys. If he looks at you, feed him and praise him. Maybe take his meal down and feed a couple of pieces every time he looks at you and tell him how wonderful he is.

You need to teach him that you’re the best thing in the world when you’re outside as well as indoors.

Other dogs/people. Yes he does need to meet them. He needs to learn to be confident, but polite. Whilst another puppy might want to play a lot of dogs won’t; that is their prerogative. If he approaches calmly he will have time to read their body language.

As he approaches another dog/person (at the moment still on the lead), he should be happy to play with you or take a titbit from you. If he won’t because he is too intent on the other dog**, move further away until he will interact with you. You will find that you can get closer in time. If the other dog wants to play, that’s fine as long he will give you attention first.

**This could be because he is a bit wary of the other dog/person, in which case you won’t want to force him in case he becomes scared of dogs. If it is because he wants to play you need to make yourself more important/fun than the other dog/person.

Eventually let him approach them on a loose lead, then no lead, going back a stage if the recall diminishes.

Interacting closely with your dog on walks should continue for months, actually for ever. It takes a lot of commitment from you.

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