I’m so glad that dog owners are thinking about the importance of socializing their new puppy or adult dog. Here’s some specific information about socialization.
Reports about regional wild game attacks on humans and dogs this past summer brings up some interesting points. We live in a perfect habitat for wildlife encounters, and as human population grows, we realize that co-habitating is becoming increasingly problematic.
All too often, once we have the dog on leash we stop communicating and let the leash do the “talking.” The problem is we haven’t actually taught the dog what the leash means. The dog usually finds out the hard way.
Every behavior has a function. Good behavior presented to us from our companion animals serves a function. If your dog lowers her head, flattens her ears and wags her whole body as well as her tail as she approaches us, we see this as an invitation to offer attention and give her rubs. Each time the dog offers this behavior, we offer attention. The same dynamic holds true for all living things.
Most of the time the gift-giver has a heartfelt and emotional reason for this precious gift, or seeing the puppy in the pet store is just too much to resist. Sometimes the puppy is used as an expression of love and fulfilling a desire but no education has taken place to prepare the recipient.
In the first two articles on separation disorder, I touched on a little of the physiology behind it. This was followed by information on the breeders influence in neonatal development and the first steps in helping a young puppy learn to cope with short separation from littermates and Mom.
I was thinking of the ways that dogs are giving us reasons to be thankful for the part they play in enriching our very existence. Doing research on this topic made me realize that I would have to write a book, so I’m touching on a few areas and leave some stories for future articles.
How many times did we hear this statement, "Look at me when I'm talking to you!" directed at us when we were in school or young enough to require adult supervision? We need eye contact in order to communicate face to face with other humans. With kids we usually follow up with the question, “Are you listening to me?” or “Did you hear what I said?”
Another side of a lost dog finding his way home is our behavior. That’s right. Here’s some things that we as a community of dog-loving people can sometimes do that interferes with returning a dog to his family.
In parts 1 and 2 of this series, I touched on the very early signs of the environmental impact on new puppies.
In the Oct. 5 issue of the Denver Post’s cartoon section, I found a little gem that spoke eloquently to one premise of understanding dog behavior; the importance of looking at the environment surrounding a specific behavior.
Last year, I wrote about how Halloween might be experienced through my dog Stuart’s eyes. It probably seems pretty weird to a dog to hear the voice and scent of their owner but to have them be totally unrecognizable in costume. Another side of this holiday experience is the fun of putting costumes on our dogs.
We all (and that includes you) lost a shining star in the world of animal behavior on Sept. 29. Dr. Sophia Yin's star fell way too soon from the galaxy made up of so many other dedicated and knowledgeable veterinarians, animal behaviorists, consultants and trainers.
When healthy, well-socialized puppies leave their littermates to go into their forever homes, it becomes the responsibility of that new family to transition that puppy safely and create a secure and happy environment. This is a very important step in teaching the pup trust and safety with his new family.
Whether it’s called separation anxiety, separation distress or good old destructive chewing, coming home to the results of this problem can just plain ruin your day. This subject deserves more attention than we can provide in one sitting so watch for more details in three future articles.