No more bad dog!
It seems like all fun and games when you bring a new puppy home, but you have to put a lot of work into making sure your pet behaves well with different people, animals and environments. Andrea Arden, a leading New York dog trainer, says that next to proper elimination techniques, it’s most important to teach your pet socialization skills. Here’s how to do it:
Expose your pet to all types of people.
Pets need to learn to interact not only with your family members, but also children, the elderly, people in uniform, people who walk slowly, and so on. When your dog is still young, take him to the local park with a bag of treats in tow. Have each person who interacts with your pet give a treat with an open palm. Do this for three to four weeks; the goal is your dog having positive social experiences with every person with whom he comes in contact.
Make sure your pet plays with other pets.
You can enroll your puppy in “puppy kindergarten” or join training classes. The trainer will help him have positive social interactions with other animals. Once your pets are more used to other animals, you can set them up on “puppy playdates” where they play with a friend’s dog for 15 to 30 minutes at a time.
Don’t fall victim to “small-dog syndrome.”
Arden says owners of smaller dogs often don’t properly socialize their pets because they’re afraid the small animal will get hurt. This leads to dogs that are overly jumpy and therefore more likely to get chased or injured by another animal. When they’re young, animals can’t really hurt one another, so it’s a good time to socialize.
Bring your pet into new environments.
Make sure your pet is comfortable with sounds at home such as the vacuum cleaner or the television. This applies to cats as well as dogs. Also, to ensure positive experiences at the vet’s office or trips in the car, bring your pet’s favorite toys and treats along.
Get your pet used to handling.
Make sure your cat or dog is comfortable with people touching or moving him. At meal time, offer a piece of food for each time your pet lets you examine his ears, pick up his paw and so on.
Don’t forget the kitties
Cats need to be social, too. Arden says cat owners often think they can just bring their cats into their homes and be fine. But it’s important for cats to learn how to interact with others.
GateHouse News Service