YOU MUST APPROPRIATELY SOCIALISE YOUR PUPPY
CONSTANTLY FOR THE FIRST 2 YEARS OF LIFE!!!!
I can not stress the importance of approriate socialisation for every single baby angel. Puppies need to be reintroduced to their kin prior to 15 weeks of age but the earlier the better. In Australia we have pre-vaccinated puppy preschool class for this very reason. This allows us to get puppies back amongst other pups as early as 8 weeks of age. Socialisation is a constant process for the first 2 to 3 years of life. It is every dog's right to be socialised and to learn their language. We take them from thier kin and it is OUR RESPONSIBILITY to provide them with the opportunity to learn how to be amongst their own species.
THIS IS SOMETHING ONLY DOGS CAN TEACH ONE ANOTHER,
WE CAN NOT TEACH THEM THIS!!!!
If you do not socialise your puppy constantly they will become fearful, apprehensive, defensive, nervous, confused and unable to feel safe and comfortable around other dogs and incapable of interacting at all. This must start from the moment they are vaccinated or in a pre vaccinated puppy class. Every week that you fail to begin their reintroduction to dogs, you are increasing the probability that they will develop unhealthy social behaviours. Equally as important is that the socialisation MUST BE APPROPRIATE.
THE PYRAMID OF PLAY
Not all dogs are appropriate play friends, particularly whilst they are still growing and learning. For example, putting a 6 month old Cavoodle in to play with a group of 6 month old Labs, Boxers and Staffy pups, is like putting a 7 year boy into a game of AFL with 18 year olds. He is going to get hurt and not like the game. The bigger, heavier, bouncey pups do not mean any harm but they will overwhelm lighter smaller pups simply with their energy and size. So parents of the larger heavier pups need to take them to play with the dogs and pups that can handle thier energy and weight and are capable of teaching them.
If you have a light weight smaller puppy choose the larger calm older doggies to build little ones confidence around bigger dogs, not high energy large dogs that will overwhelm and sometimes frighten them. If you have a large breed energetic pup when they first get to the doggie park they’re at the top of the play pyramid, there’s only a few doggies that can tolerate their energy and play, so take them to play with those doggies and as their energy is drained their pyramid opens up and their play options increase. When they’re completely exhausted they’re a lot more capable of playing appropriately with smaller less energetic doggies.
Compitable Dog Play Groups
So people can register their individual dog’s breed, age, size, weight, character, play style and preferred play mates. Then organise compatible play groups where all dogs can socialise and learn their language in a safe environment amongst appropriate play friends.
I think having something like this available to people would be fantastic. Because at the moment the only open environment socialisation options for dogs, is at dog parks where they’re at the mercy of uneducated parents, who have little to no idea about what is appropriate and what is not.
Here’s just a few of the INAPPROPRIATE examples I see on a daily basis.
1) Parents who are completely oblivious that their excitable adolescent dog is overwhelming a gentler more timid dog, or pushing the tolerance of a wiser older dog, or frightening the life out of a young puppy.
2) Parents failing to interrupt play when their dog is either ignoring or doesn’t understand appropriate calming signals that another dog is giving and just allows the interaction to continue.
3) Parents not recognising that their dog is using bullying behaviour.
4) Parents not recognising that their dogs are participating in mobbing.
5) Parents not recognising “pack up behaviour” when a new dog enters an environment with regulars.
6) Parents not recognising when arousal levels need to be reduced, or how to do this.
7) Parents not recognising inappropriate “ball or toy” behaviour.
To put it into a context for those of you that have never even considered any of this.
Imagine sending your children to school and the adults that were responsible for their psychological and physical well-being let your children be bullied, beaten up, have their belongings taken from them by force, allowed new students to be ganged up on by groups, or put 12 year old children in with 17 year olds to play contact sports.
Parents would simply not stand for that.
So why are you all so ok with this happening to your equally vulnerable canine family members??????