Socializing Your Puppy

July 01

By, Julie Morrill

Here at Marble Mountain Kennels we believe strongly in proactively socializing your puppy. We define socialization as the activity of socially interacting with other people and dogs. Puppies are exposed to children and adults of all ages, sizes, personalities, smells, etc. Puppies may also be introduced to different species, such as a cat or two, and sometimes wild turkeys, quail, and squirrels that wander through our yard. We are not passive about our socialization process. We pay employees to actively socialize puppies so they will learn that people and other dogs (at least our Labs) are kind, friendly and trustworthy. Socialization prevents a puppy from becoming fearful and nervous around other humans and dogs. It helps pups to grow into confident, outgoing, friendly, good-natured adults. When puppies get to be about seven weeks of age, they are sometimes allowed to interact with other gentle adult mama dogs. This teaches them respect for their elders, since a mama may growl at a rambunctious pup who tries to jump up on her or bite her tail.

We understand the importance of having our puppy handlers interact safely, positively and gently with puppies, so they don't become injured or develop any fears or aggressive behaviors from a negative experience in toddlerhood. We insist that children, teens, and even adults be seated on their derrieres on the ground before holding a puppy in their laps. No standing or walking around while holding a puppy is allowed. A puppy can be unpredictable and sporadically wiggly, so remaining seated while holding a puppy ensures that she won't be dropped from a potentially injurious height. Most of the time, puppies are carried in either large buckets with handles or transported in a high-sided wagon with a protective cover. If our puppy handlers want to run and play with pups, we insist that they do so gently and carefully, so that none are stepped on--or that they maintain a safe distance ahead of the puppies, so they cannot get underfoot.

After you bring your puppy home, it’s important to cautiously and carefully introduce her to other pets and people in your home. Make sure that your other pets (and humans) are gentle and accepting. Aggressive or fearful dogs could react in ways that traumatize your puppy and cause life-long fear and aggression behavioral problems. Please note that a new puppy can be a mild annoyance to even the sweetest of pets. Your pup will likely get a quick scratch on the nose from a cat or a little nip and growl from an older dog. Most of the time, your puppy will learn her rank and station in the new pack and recover quickly to become a healthy, happy member of your family.


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