Category Archives: socializing a puppy

How to Socialize Puppies and Adult Dogs

By Linda Cole

All puppies need to be socialized, and if you’ve adopted a dog from a shelter or bought an older dog, you may need to spend time socializing him, too. Sometimes a dog gets into a fight with another dog at a dog park or at a friend’s house, and it leaves him wary of other dogs. A new person or pet in the home can cause a dog to need socializing again also. It’s important to make sure your dog or puppy is well socialized with people, new things in his environment, and other pets in the home.

Socializing a Puppy

Just like kids, a puppy’s early life can set the stage for how he behaves and his ability to accept new things in his life. The first 8 – 20 weeks are extremely important for your pup’s development, and that’s the best age to begin socializing a puppy. It’s up to his owner to make sure he’s exposed to new things on a regular basis so he has an opportunity to learn what’s expected from him and how to act when confronted with something new.

He needs to be exposed to people, other pets in the home, other dogs and new places, sounds, sights and smells. He needs to experience things he’ll have to deal with in his life. And he needs to be able to learn in a positive way so he’s not apprehensive when something new comes his way later on in his life. Because a puppy hasn’t received all of his vaccinations yet, check with your vet for advice on when you can expose your pup to other dogs and people outside the home. Your pup is also capable of learning basic commands at an early age, which helps him learn who’s in charge.

Introduce your pup to new people and situations during this period. You will want him to meet men, women, older people, children and other pets. Expose him to people riding bikes, skateboards, men with beards, people in uniforms, and women/men with short and long hair. Dogs do notice the differences in people, and the more your pup has a chance to meet different people, the more confident and calm he’ll be.

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The Importance of Play Dates for Dogs


By Suzanne Alicie

You can take your dog for a run or enjoy a game of fetch in the backyard to provide him with much needed play and exercise, so why would you go to the trouble of arranging play dates for your dog? Don’t you have enough to do with kids, work and home? Keep reading to find out the importance of play dates for your dog.

Imagine that you are walking your dog in the park; suddenly he sees another dog and goes crazy pulling on the leash, barking and dragging you along as he runs after this other dog. This can lead to reluctance to take your dog anywhere he may encounter other dogs. The fear that your dog will attack another dog or even a person can lead you to feel much safer playing with and exercising your dog at home.

This is where play dates come in. Dogs are social animals, and many of their behaviors that may seem threatening are simply their pack nature. Dogs are either submissive or dominant, and in any group of canines there will emerge a natural alpha dog. By setting up play dates and allowing your dog to indulge in the sniffing and romping that is normal for him, you are allowing him to be a dog.

Dogs need to be socialized not only with other animals, but with other humans as well. A dog who is isolated and only interacts with their own family will tend to be more high strung and vocal when he encounters other people or animals.

Early socialization helps puppies grow up to be amiable and cooperative around other dogs and people. If your dog is already grown and hasn’t socialized with other dogs and people very much, it is important to start slowly to socialize him. Arrange to meet a friend to walk your two dogs together at the park. If your friend’s dog is used to other dogs and not afraid, it will be better for your dog to adjust to.

Muzzle your dog to prevent any accidental damage should he become frightened or aggressive. When you meet your friend, allow the dogs to do their doggie thing. Give them time to sniff and become accustomed to one another before beginning your walk. Don’t despair if your dog growls or even cowers from the other dog in the beginning. He is simply reacting to the other dog and after a few moments will take his behavior cues from his new friend. This is why it is important to introduce your dog to another dog that has been socialized. Bringing two un-socialized dogs together can be chaos.

As your dog becomes more accustomed to his new doggie friend, find a few more people that you know with dogs to join you on your walks. Over time your dog will grow to look forward to the time he gets to spend with his canine friends. You will be able to remove the muzzle and in certain situations even unleash the dogs and allow them to run and play together. These play dates make for dogs who aren’t timid or aggressive with new dogs or new people that they encounter.

Your dog will thrive and be much happier if he is allowed to play with other canines. While interaction with people is important, dogs need time to be pack animals, to find their place within their circle of friends, and to learn more about being a dog as well as a pet.

Read more articles by Suzanne Alicie

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

The Challenges of Raising Litter Mate Puppies


By Linda Cole

It’s hard picking out just one puppy. They’re all so cute and adorable. People with room in their home and heart for two pups may not think twice about buying or adopting sibling puppies, but there could be potential harm to one or both of the pups. Raising litter mate puppies is more complicated than it sounds, and it can be a challenge.

A new puppy needs to have a chance to bond with the human who will become his pack leader. In fact, it’s essential that bonding take place. Pups are ready to leave the nest when they are 8 weeks old, and their development will continue in their new home. Litter mate puppies are comfortable with each other, and can keep each other company while you are gone. The situation can change, however, once they grow up. Just because they get along as pups doesn’t guarantee they will get along as adults, especially if they are both male, or both female. As full grown dogs, siblings will fight and jockey for dominance in their pack just like any other dogs would do. Female pups will also fight for their place in the pack, especially if there’s a male dog in the home. Aggression and rivalries could turn into double trouble for their human parents.

When you raise pups from the same litter, you risk creating insecure dogs with behavior problems that can be with them their entire lives. There’s a good chance they can be so dependent on each other that separation anxiety could become a severe problem anytime they are not together. You want them to play with each other, but they need time apart in order to learn about life away from their sibling.

Raising litter mate puppies can be a challenge, but it’s not impossible as long as you are aware of what you’re getting into, and you learn how to teach each pup according to their personality and individual needs. You will need to keep litter mates separated as much as possible for the first year. Treat each puppy as an individual dog and not as an extension of its sibling.

Keep them apart from each other during housebreaking and training activities, at feeding time, and when you are giving each one attention and playing with them. This gives each pup a chance to develop their own personality, find their own identity and understand their social order in the pack. It also gives them both a chance to bond with you equally, which will help them learn how to maintain a balanced and stable relationship where they both feel secure within the home. If you crate them while you are gone, they need to be in different rooms. Take only one at a time for walks or to the vet for checkups and vaccinations. Even though they live in the same home, each one should be treated as if you have just one dog.

There are two schools of thought when it comes to raising litter mate puppies. Some breeders won’t sell siblings because they are afraid they could turn out to be more than the owner bargained for and one or both pups could suffer the consequences if the new owner can’t handle two pups. Other breeders feel it’s up to the buyer to decide. Responsible breeders will work with you and are happy to help out any way they can. A breeder’s concern is for the pups, and they want to make sure the puppies are going to a good home.

A prospective owner who understands what they are getting into and has the time and energy to properly socialize and train both pups should do fine. If you really want two dogs, a better solution might be to take one, then go back in about 6 months to pick another puppy from a different litter. If you want to take litter mates home, it will work out better to take a male and a female. Make sure to have them neutered and spayed as soon as they are old enough to prevent unwanted pregnancies.

Two puppies will require double work and expense when it comes to housebreaking, veterinarian bills, food and time for bonding, development and training. But if you do your homework and invest in the hard work and commitment needed to raise litter mate puppies, you will also be rewarded with double the love and fun of two well-adjusted individual pets.

Read more articles by Linda Cole

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

Tips for Socializing a Puppy


By Ruthie Bently

Every dog training book I have ever read has chapters about socializing your puppy. After living with a dog that was not properly socialized when she was younger, I understand the importance of socializing a puppy. You don’t want to live with a dog that barks at the mailman and delivery people. Or one that barks at every sound they hear outside, whether it’s your kids playing in your yard or a loud car stereo going by.

On the other hand, a dog that has not been socialized can also be a “Nervous Nellie” and may go hide in another room or under a piece of furniture. They can even be afraid of sounds inside the house, like the vacuum cleaner, dishwasher or clothes dryer. In a worst case scenario, they can become aggressive to other dogs or strangers that visit your home. So it is important to begin socializing your puppy as soon as you bring them home. But how do you go about it?

There are several ways to help you socialize a new puppy, and they don’t take a lot of effort. One good way is to enroll them in a puppy obedience class as early as possible, but make sure they’ve had all their shots first. Your puppy will get to meet other dog breeds, and by interacting with them will learn not to be nervous or fearful around them. When I took my first AmStaff to obedience class, I asked how many other dogs would be in his class. Since he was a younger, smaller dog, I wanted to get him into a class with fewer dogs. A smaller class is good because you can get more hands-on socializing, without overwhelming your new puppy.

The veterinarian’s office is also a good place for your puppy to have new experiences. They have a chance to interact with other pets and meet the vet and their staff. When you make your puppy’s first vet appointment, let the person you speak with know that you are bringing a new puppy, and that you would like help in socializing them. By having the vet and their staff make a fuss over your dog, your dog will learn that there is another place they are welcome to go and meet friendly people.

What about your local pet shop – are dogs allowed there? I managed one store in Illinois and we encouraged new puppy owners to bring in their dogs for a meet and greet. We asked for three things: 1) the puppy had to have a leash and collar (or harness) on; 2) we were allowed to give the puppy a cookie; 3) they should walk the puppy thoroughly before they brought it in to prevent “accidents.”

The place was large enough to negotiate with a puppy (or an adult dog), and the puppy got to help pick out their own toys and had fun being able to go into a store. Not only that, there were lots of people available (both workers and customers) to fawn over the puppy.

You can get your friends and family members involved in socializing your puppy too. Have a “meet the puppy” party, and supply puppy-sized treats in a dish by the door. CANIDAE Snap-Bits® are great for this; they are a perfect size, with a pleasant flavor, and they don’t have too many calories. Have the puppy next to you by the door and after the bell rings or they knock, open the door and hand the guest a treat for the puppy. If feeding your puppy between meals makes you uncomfortable, have the arriving guest get down on the puppy’s level and put out their hand for the puppy to smell, speaking to the puppy in a friendly voice and then have them pet the puppy. You can also ask a friend or family member with a dog to come over and meet your puppy. This way your puppy gets to meet other dogs in a safe arena under your supervision.

Are there any businesses in your town that hand out dog biscuits? Our bank has a treat jar right next to the lollipop jar at the drive through. Skye loves going for rides in the car, though I don’t take her with me when it is too hot or too cold out. By taking your dog for rides in the car when you can, they get used to going in the car and may be less apt to get carsickness, as it could be stress related. The dog park is a good place to meet dogs, but I recommend checking it out first before taking your new puppy. Go to the dog park and meet some of the other dogs’ owners, as well as the dogs, and see if you think your puppy is socialized well enough for that.

By following these simple ideas for socializing your puppy, you can meet new people and your puppy can make new friends as well. Nothing could be finer!

Read more articles by Ruthie Bently

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.