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Greeting a Puppy or Dog - How YOU Can Help With Training

Greeting a Puppy or Dog - How YOU Can Help With Training

Have you ever observed how socially-savvy dogs greet each other?  There’s usually no barking or jumping on each other and you won’t see them look each other directly in the eyes/face.  Their tails will be up and wagging as they sniff each other under the belly or around the butt area.  They may rub their bodies against each other slowly as they circle around each other.  When all of this is done, you may then witness an invitation to play, usually in the form of a play bow (front paws out in front and butt up in the air, tail wagging).  And off they go....

Humans would be wise, when greeting a puppy or dog, to practice some of those same behaviors.  Here, however, is the most common scenario I see when I’m out and about:  Dog owner is walking along with a beautiful pup or adult dog on the leash.

Dog Stewardship....It's Every Owner's Responsibility

Dog Stewardship....It's Every Owner's Responsibility

The greater Portland area is a very dog-friendly place, with numerous beautiful locales for socializing our dogs both on and off the leash.  As the owner of a dog-related business and the “Mommy” to two adult Labs, I am ever grateful that my dogs can swim in the ocean, run in the woods and frolic in open fields within walking distance or a short drive from our home.  I take my responsibilities as a dog owner very seriously and invite others to consider how seriously they do as well.  I’m saddened by the amount of dog waste littering the trails in Robinson Woods (managed by Cape Elizabeth Land Trust) in the winter months.  I’m dismayed when I see off-leash dogs jumping on people at Willard Beach.

Early Socialization is Critical for Your Pup

Early Socialization is Critical for Your Pup

When you are out and about with your dog, have you ever encountered a person who is clutching their small dog to their chest as the furry bundle growls and spits and hisses and snarls?  The person usually says something like, "My dog just doesn't like other dogs!"  Sadly, chances are very good that the dog was not properly socialized early in life.

Professional dog trainers will tell you that you need to give your new pup "100 exposures in 100 days."  Research has shown that dogs imprint and integrate these new experiences and have a much greater chance of being open and enthusiastic (at best) and non-reactive (at a minimum) when encountering the same stimuli later in life.  But....here's the kicker:  the window begins to close at around four months (16 weeks) of age, meaning that your pup becomes less and less open to new experiences from this age forward.

Get Your Pup Out To Play!

Get Your Pup Out To Play!

Winter has been long and cold!  If you have a NEW pup, chances are you've been challenged to provide a proper amount of exercise and outdoor fun for the new family member in these snowy and frigid winter months.  Consider puppy nursery school  (http://www.danceswithdogsmaine.com/) for a full day of socialization, exercise and fun.  There are also opportunities locally (http://www.planetdog.com/company_store/romp_rrr_room.aspx and http://www.kennelshop.com/?page_id=22) for your pup to socialize on the weekends for an hour for FREE!