Friday, February 6, 2015

Play Now Or Pay Later

 You can teach an old dogs new tricks but you can't teach them to be comfortable in their own skin.  There is a critical window of opportunity to socialize puppies, birth to approximately 16 weeks of age.  During this time puppies are forming life long opinions of how they 'feel' about the world around them.  This includes people, places, sounds, smells, surfaces and especially other dogs.

I recently read a great article called 'The Dog Aggression Epidemic' and it was spot on.  Those of us who work with dogs are seeing a dramatic increase in aggression, specifically dog-to-dog aggression.

The sad thing about this is, for the most part it's preventable.  How do we change things?  We start with educating Vets, Breeders, Shelters, Owners and Trainers about the importance of early socialization!!

To address concerns regarding safety, here is the AVSAB's position on early socialization with regard to vaccinations and disease.

We know that waiting until a puppy is fully vaccinated,  to allow them to play with other dogs, can put them at risk for fearful, anxious, aggressive behavior towards other dogs for a lifetime.  While there are other factors that can influence behavior problems, lack of early socialization tops the list!!

What are the benefits for well socialized puppies?

If you've lived with a fearful, reactive or aggressive dog, you know all to well the heartache and livelong struggles.  The risks to adult dogs, just to name a few:
  • Isolation
  • Frustration
  • Anxiety
  • Aggression
  • Losing their home
  • Losing their LIFE
The advantages for well socialized dogs:
  • Confidence
  • Adventures
  • Calm and relaxed
  • Freedom to go more places
  • Dog Friends
  • Exercise and walks
  • Quality of life 
It's our responsibility to help our puppies get off to a great start in life.  You only have one chance to get it right and your dogs life may very well depend on it.  I've never met a person who regretted the time they put into properly socializing their puppy.  I have however, worked with countless families who live with the regret of not having done it.

We work closely with families to help develop socialization and play programs for puppies that promote safe and positive play experiences.