This time of year with snow on the ground and sidewalks and trails narrowing to single file, the encounters between dogs and humans take on a new and frightening aspect.
We love this little guy. He is a permanent part of our lives, and we are cruising along with minimal difficulties. I’ll share what I mean by minimal.
If I can only say one thing, it is “Train that puppy and keep that training in place for the foreseeable future.”
Pavlov and prevention of separation disorders
In preventing and treating separation disorders between pets and owners, classical conditioning along with other methods can help to overcome or lesson the anxiety attached to being left alone.
We left off in Part 1 with a general overview of experiences that puppies have during the first 12 weeks of life. Within this period of time, there are important sub-plots.
You see them all around town — people are out with their dogs, running, biking and visiting with friends. Your heart aches. You can’t take your dog out because he barks and lunges at other dogs and might start a fight. He’s your dog and you wish he was like those other dogs that get along. You can’t just give him up.
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.