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Socialization and Desensitization

The world can be an overwhelming place for a new puppy. The constant bombardment with new situations, people and handling can lead to a fearful and sometimes aggressive puppy.

The key to having a happy, well adjusted puppy is lots of positive reinforcement paired with new experiences. When you are out with your puppy, always have a pocketful of treats with you and be ready to reward him or her for acting relaxed and happy in the presence of new situations. If your puppy is acting shy or fearful, IGNORE IT! Trying to coddle or soothe your puppy during these times is only reinforcing the fear that he or she is exhibiting.

Expose your puppy to as many new experiences as possible and again, reward happy, relaxed behavior. The vet’s office can be a scary place too, so feel free to just drop in with your puppy to say hi, so that our staff can shower him with love, treats, and attention at a time when we do not have to do exams, vaccines or other things that he or she may not be a fan of.

When you are home with your puppy, get him or her used to having feet, ears, and mouth handled. Give treats and praise for good behavior during these exercises.

During mealtimes, or if your puppy is playing with a toy, briefly take away the food or toy and give him or her a reward for allowing you to do so.

The importance of positive reinforcement cannot be stressed enough. Remember to only reinforce those behaviors which are desirable and that you want to continue. Many unwanted behaviors are unknowingly reinforced by owners.

The behavior tips presented here barely scratch the surface of how to raise a happy, well adjusted puppy. Please refer to the resources included in this puppy pack for more complete information.(Have you done your homework and read this far?? If you have, call us and we’ll give your puppy a free nail trim!)