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Puppy to Adult

I was helping a wonderful human and their owner today and it reminded me of something important.

We often think socialisation = go up and meet every single thing so we know that the pup is ok with it.

There's a few things that, when we really think about it, don't make sense.

If we teach our dogs from a young age to go and approach everything novel, and continue to do so for a few months. What do we think we are teaching our pups?

Have a think, write it down...

We are teaching them, every time you see something/someone/somedog new we need to go and check it out. Everything. Dogs/pups don't understand our well intended actions "hey we're just going to do this for a couple of months to make sure your ok with the world we live in". They learn lead = go and approach everything. Imagine how frustrating it is for them (and us) when we randomly change the rules and don't work on what we do want.

So what can we do? We can still go out when its safe for our pups, we can walk past most things and understand, just because they're not staring, doesn't mean they don't notice. Reward them with what they love when we see/hear/smell something new. And put the approach on a cue, "lets say hi", "or whats there" etc. So you and doggo understand when its time to say hi.

Building on, "just walking past is enough", most dogs are way more attuned to the environment then we are, they'll hear or smell before we notice. Let that be enough. That is a dog who smells something new, and continues about their day vs smells something new and must investigate.

Giving our pups plenty of novelty at home paired with good experiences also helps. Cardboard box full of puppy safe things, put their food in it. We're teaching novelty is a good thing and can happily be ignored. Not the specific thing is ok, we're aiming to generalise.

Think about what we would like our pup to do when they're an adult. What behaviours would we like to see and start growing them. We can't teach when we think about what we don't want, we can teach when we think about what we do want.

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