Monday, October 4, 2010

The Urban Dog

Not too long ago I ran into a young woman who had recently purchased a Rottweiler puppy. Of course being me I couldn't help but share some advice and bring my dogs out for some socialization. Her pup was fearful of both dogs and people. The owner had also been struggling to walk her on leash and to eliminate pulling she had tied to the leash around the puppy's waist to create discomfort when she pulled (this confused the puppy and caused anxiety). 
I showed her how to use a balance leash (re: tellington touch) and gave the little one some treats that I always seem to have on hand. She settled down and eventually played with my crew a bit. The owner admitted she didn't know what she was doing and thanked me for my leash advice.

My suggestion that she attend a puppy socialization class was met with utter disbelief on her part. She stated that her previous dogs did not attend training class and were great pets furthermore she didn't have the money since she had already paid for the puppy and a vet exam. 
This kind of thing boggles my mind. Clearly the obvious benefits to puppy socialization classes are not common sense so I thought I would outline them.

We expect dogs today to interact appropriately in a busy urban setting and remain polite and calm around children, bikes, skateboard, joggers, motorcyclists, etc. It's clearly not fair to expect all these things without first giving them a chance to learn. 
Puppy socialization will:
  • help your puppy learn that strangers (men, women, children) are friends and at the very least not a threat to be barked at or growled at
  • help your puppy learn key dog skills that you can not teach your puppy (the more dogs/puppies the better)
  • the window for socialization closes at 4 months so it's important that puppies are safely introduced to a variety of new things before then
  • your puppy will learn the beginning of obedience skills that he/she will need throughout their life 
  • your puppy will be able to cope with stress a lot better

The urban dog today needs lots of preparation for city living. Please give your puppy a shot at this by ensuring they attend a puppy socialization class that uses positive reinforcement. I'd be more than happy to recommend you to one near you in Calgary and area. 

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