Raising People-Friendly Dogs
The MOST important attribute a dog should have is that of sociability with other people.
So many people want a dog that scares people away or is protective.
But, just HAVING a dog is a deterrent for most people.
I have had dogs that didn’t like people, and trust me, you don’t really want that.
When your dog doesn’t like people, every social interaction is stressful.
When your dog doesn’t like people, he is a liability.
No one wants a dog that might bite anyone at the drop of a hat.
I have a protection trained dog, and, ironically, she is one of the most social dogs I have ever owned. She loves people!
A dog can be protective in certain situations and still be social with people.
I would much rather have a dog that I can trust with people and human interaction!
People underestimate how important it is to socialize puppies while they are young.
This is a very important step in your puppy training.
It sounds trite, but if you wait too long, it will be so much more difficult!
It is possible, for some dogs, but it is so much easier to socialize a young puppy.
The first fear imprint stage happens between 8-11 weeks old, and, at this time, it is best to introduce your puppy to people and children you know and trust.
A negative experience can last a lifetime if it happens during these crucial periods.
At 12 weeks, and after your puppy has received some vaccinations, you can begin taking your puppy out to experience more of the world and more people and places.
I still recommend controlling “people and kids” to the best of your ability. Meaning, I don’t allow kids that I don’t know to pick up my puppies or play with them without my watchful eye.
I try to take my puppies to as many places as possible so that they can get used to what the world looks like.
Make sure to take them to the city and the country and any other experiences that your adult dog might look forward to later in life.
If you don’t, you will end up with a fearful dog who is afraid to be in new situations and meet new people.
I am a believer that new people should offer my puppy a treat.
I want a puppy that enjoys meeting new people and if new people equal treats, chances are he is going to come to that conclusion a lot faster.
I do things a little differently.
I keep the best treats for ME to reward my puppy for good behavior.
I give other people mediocre treats to give my puppy.
For instance, I keep the liver treats for myself to give to my puppy and I give new people a basic biscuit to give my puppy.
I mean, a biscuit is good, but it is the liver he is really working for!
I want to be in control of all the best things in my dog’s life.
Plus, it keeps my dog from getting way too overexcited when he meets new people.
Meeting people is exciting enough, but meeting people with treats can be even more exciting.
That kind of excitement can get out of control and lead to jumping and excitement nipping.
By me having the best treats, my dogs learn to sit and pay attention to me more than anyone else!
It is a pretty cool trick, if you think about it.
I have been a professional dog trainer and pet sitter for over 20 years. I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, through the international Certification Counsel of Professional Dog Trainers. I have trained and worked with police, Schutzhund and personal protection dogs. I trained Assistance Dogs in a men’s prison and ran my own nonprofit organization to take adult dogs from shelters and to train them to assist children and adults with disabilities, at no charge to my clients. My nonprofit organization and I were nominated for several awards of merit and even made the front page of the Denver Post. I was a veterinary technician for many years, where I learned about all aspects of health and preventative medicine. I have trained and worked with exotic animals and cheetahs. I introduced a temperament testing program in my local shelter and sat on the board of directors. I volunteered with my dog “Mr. Snitch” and helped local children learn to read. I have attained obedience titles and several blue ribbons. I am constantly in search of ways to continue my education and excellence when it comes to animals, their behavior and their health.