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Things to Consider Before You Get A Pet This Christmas

Cute pets wearing Santa Hats

Should You Really Get Pet This Christmas?

It seems perfect, right? The family has been talking about getting a pet why not surprise them? The kids need more responsibility, a pet would be the perfect way to give them that. But it’s not always perfect. Here are some things to consider before you get a pet this Christmas.

#1. Does Everyone Want A Pet?

Before you set out to get a pet you might want to make sure everyone is on board with the idea. Everyone should also agree on what kind of pet your family might want. While you are thinking of a cute little kitten, your family is thinking more along the lines of a Golden Retriever.

#2.  Aren’t you Already Busy?

Christmas is a very busy time of year for everyone. There is shopping to do, presents to wrap, parties to attend, and family to entertain. And what about after the holidays? There is work, school events, afterschool programs, and so much more. Puppies and kittens require a lot of work! Are you going to able to add that to your schedule? Puppies need training, playtime and frequent potty breaks. Kittens need playtime too, as well as training (yes, I said training). Routine is important for any animal, so make sure you can keep your pet on a regular schedule before you get a pet this Christmas.

#3. Holiday Visitors

Christmas is a particularly hectic time with family and friends dropping by to celebrate and exchange gifts. Your doors will continually be opening and closing. This is the perfect opportunity for your new puppy or kitten to get lost in the shuffle of Christmas celebrations.

#4. Cost

Those cute little furry kittens and puppies can cost a lot of money, so make sure you take all costs into consideration before adding a puppy or kitten to your home. Here are a few things to think about:

Veterinary care – From initial vaccinations to monthly heartworm treatment. There is also the accident or illness that may happen. And don’t forget your pet requires a yearly check-up just like you.

Supplies – There’s food, toys, beds, carriers, treats, leashes, bowls, collars and so much more.

Daily care – If you decide to get a puppy what will you do with that puppy every day that you are at work and the kids are in school? Puppies need to get out to go potty and eat in the middle of the day. If you can’t come home during the day, you will have to hire a dog walker to come in to care for your puppy while you are at work. Kittens also need a lot of personal interaction and feedings, so unless you already have other pets in the house and open feeding your kitten will need attention during the day also. A pet sitter is a great way to socialize your kitten as well as provide much-needed playtime and food.

This list only scratches the surface of the costs that can arise.

#5. Are You in It For the Long Haul?

So you get a pet this Christmas, but it will be with you for many Christmases to come. A dog or cat is a long-term commitment. Our shelters are overflowing as it is and after the holidays it gets worse. Pets are not something to play with on Christmas break and the discard at the animal shelter when it gets too difficult or costly.

Cats and dogs can live for 20+ years. Are you willing to make that commitment? What are your future plans? Are you moving? Traveling? Planning a family? How will your pet fit into your life not only now, but in the future?

#6. Do You Have Other Pets?

Before you get a pet this Christmas, take the pets you already have into consideration? Christmas time is very stressful for everyone, including your pets. It might be a good idea to wait until after the holidays, when everything has calmed down, before adding another pet to your family. How will your current pets accept a new pet into the family? Remember, most of your pet care costs are going to double when you add another pet to the family.  

Final Thoughts

If you have decided to get a pet this Christmas, please consider adopting from your local rescue or animal shelter after the Christmas holiday. This will give your pet time to adjust to its new environment and you will be saving a life. Millions of unwanted pets are euthanized each year across the United States. These unwanted pets are wonderful animals (I know I have six) who just need a family to love them. Most rescues and shelters offer gift certificates and you can make it a fun family outing after the holidays, while still giving the kids something to open on Christmas day.

How can Dances with Dogs help? Our Professional Pet Services can take some of the pressure off your busy schedule as well as help you with training your new dog or cat. Contact us!

 

 

 

 

Mobile Veterinarians in Miami

Golden retriever puppy playing with stethescope.

Mobile veterinarians in Miami provide great care for your beloved pets.

Just a few weeks ago I was at a client’s house, an older couple, and they were telling me how hard it is for them to take their pets to the vet as they have gotten older. I told them about a mobile veterinarian in Miami who also has an office not too far from their home. They were delighted and now use this veterinarian because it works so much better for them than trying to get their pets into an office. There are not a lot of mobile veterinarians in Miami. Here are the ones we are familiar with and our clients have used and are happy:

Coral Reef Animal Clinic

Location: 15301 S. Dixie Hwy, Palmetto Bay, FL 33157

Phone: 305-233-2920

Along with the office, they have a mobile veterinary van that is fully equipped. I know because I had the opportunity to go inside. They have been there to help several of our clients who needed or wanted at home veterinary care for their pets. We have so many clients that just love everyone at this clinic. They are knowledgeable and compassionate.

The Visiting Vet

Location: 8279 SW 124th St., Pinecrest, FL 33156

Phone: 305-235-1578

I have had personal experience with Dr. Snyder and her team when a client had to say goodbye to her beloved dog and The Visiting Vet came to her home to help her dog transition peacefully in his own home. I was so touched by their caring, compassion and bedside manner. What a wonderful group.

Links of Love

Location: 13033 SW 112th St., Miami, FL 33186

Phone: 305-338-3620

We have several clients that use Links of love for their veterinary care and are thrilled with not only the expertise but the kindness their pets have received. They too have an office that is state of the art and their mobile veterinary van is fully equipped.

Have you ever used a mobile veterinarian?

 

 

 

 

All About the Pit Bull

Blond pit bull close-up

October is National Pit Bull Awareness Month. Here is why we love the breed.

Pit Bull Terriers have been getting a bad rap (pun intended) for a very long time, but why? There are so many falsehoods about the breed that have been told for so long that it has become hard to separate fact from fiction.

The breed was originally brought to the United States in the mid to late 1800’s with their British immigrant owners. Around that time the breed was named the Pit Bull Terrier or the American Pit Bull Terrier.

The term “Pit Bull” refers to dogs with the same physical characteristics and personality traits. These include the American Pit Bull Terrier, the American Staffordshire Terrier, and dogs that are mixes of both.

Personality

Pit bulls are active and intelligent, playful and funny. Their intelligence can get them into trouble. Once they set their mind to something they give it everything they’ve got. So, if your dog is determined to scale your 6-foot fence then be prepared. Pit bulls don’t usually throw in the towel.

Trainability

Because of their intelligence, they are quick to respond to training. Their intelligence is also the reason you should start training your pit bull as soon as possible. Since pit bulls can be unfriendly to other dogs if not properly socialized at a young age, once your puppy has the proper vaccinations a group obedience class or puppy class can be a great way to expose your pit bull to other dogs.

Exercise Requirements

Pit bulls generally require a good amount of exercise, so if you are a couch potato a pit bull may not be the right dog for you. If your dog does not get enough exercise they will find their own way to expend that excess energy and you may not like the results, so get your pit bull out for some daily exercise.

Grooming Requirements

Because the Pit Bull has a short coat, grooming is easy. A daily brushing with a rubber curry brush, followed by a quick wipe down with a clean cloth will remove the dead hair and skin cells and stimulate the natural oils in your dog’s coat, leaving your Pit Bull’s coat looking healthy and shiny.

Breed Specific Legislation

Unfortunately, many cities have banned the breed. This breed-specific legislation bans all dogs of a certain breed regardless of each individual dog’s temperament. The fact is, any dog can bite from the smallest chihuahua to the largest St. Bernard and these breed bans are, in my opinion, unfair and ineffective. Thousands of dogs are euthanized each year, just because they are a certain breed. Most of these dogs are not dangerous and have no history of aggression.

If you are in a city where Pit Bulls are legal, and you want a smart, charming, funny, energetic dog that requires a lot of exercise, but little grooming then consider the Pit Bull.

Do You Have A Pit Bull in Your Life? Please Let Us Know Why You Love Your Pit Bull.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Black Dog Syndrome: What It Is and Why You Should Care

close up of a black dog on a black background.

A black dog is less likely to get adopted.

October 1st is National Black Dog Day, but thousands of black dogs sit in shelters across the country overlooked and unadopted. How could that be? Black dogs are just as wonderful as white dogs, or brown dogs, or grey dogs or fawn colored dogs or spotted dogs. Could it be Black Dog Syndrome?

What is Black Dog Syndrome?

I remember speaking with a friend who does dog rescue a few years back. She was out with a beautiful black lab mix puppy. I asked about the puppy and she proceeded to tell me that he had just been returned to her because the adopter’s husband felt the dog had the mark of the devil because he was black. I was stunned. Here was a beautiful, smart puppy who was returned because he was a certain color!

This is part of Black Dog Syndrome.

According to a study done by petfinder.com less-adoptable dogs are listed on their site four times longer than other dogs. What dogs are considered less-adoptable dogs? Senior dogs, dogs with special needs and black dogs. This survey included other pets too.

Why Does Black Dog Syndrome Happen?

While there is no clear proof as to why Black Dog Syndrome happens, it may as simple as the features of black dogs are harder to see, so they look unfriendly. I know that I have more difficulty taking pictures of black dogs than I do taking pictures of lighter dogs. Black, in general, is often equated with evil and bad luck. Look at the villains in old Western movies, they wear the “black hat” while the hero of the movie wears the “white hat”. Then there is black magic. Let’s face it, some people tend to associate black with bad.

What Can You Do?

Well, you could adopt a black dog, but if that is not an option to spread the word. Tell your friends and family about Black Dog Syndrome. If people are aware of the issue they can work to fix it. It may just be that you tell someone who was just getting ready to add a dog to their family and now they are on an active hunt to make that new family member a black dog. Awareness works! If you are a great photographer, volunteer at your local shelter to take pictures and show black dogs in a different light. When your local shelters post pictures of black dogs up for adoption, share those pictures on social media.

 

How Much Exercise Does Your Dog Need?

Dog lifting weights wearing blue hat, blue shorts and gold chain

How much exercise your dog needs depends on several factors.

Owning a dog carries a lot of responsibility, food, water, veterinary care, love, and exercise. But how much exercise does your dog need? Generally, dogs need between 30 minutes and 2 hours of exercise per day. How do you know where your dog falls on that timeline though?

Dogs need to get out and explore their world so daily walks are important for not only their physical health but also their mental health. Walking, however, is not always enough. Here are some things to consider when thinking about how much exercise your dog should get and what type of exercise is right for them.

Health Advantages

Just as exercise is good for your waistline, exercise is also good for your dog’s waistline. Exercise will help keep the weight off, keep muscles toned and help extend the life of your dog. Exercise is also good for the mind. If you have ever experienced a bored dog, you know they can become destructive as a way to burn off excess energy.

Age

No matter whether your dog is young or old, they need exercise. But the age of your dog will be one of the determining factors in how much exercise your dog needs. Age is also a factor in what kind of exercise your dog should be getting.

We all slow down as we get older. While our senior dog will always enjoy getting out to sniff and stretch their legs, take your dog’s advancing age into consideration before setting out on a long, strenuous hike. Old creaky bones are not going to enjoy a high impact run through the neighborhood either.

Dog’s under one year of age should also avoid high impact exercise as their bones are not fully developed. Young puppies will not have the stamina to go very far either.

Breed

Some breeds are higher energy than others and require more physical exercise. Other breeds are much lower energy and require much less exercise. So, while some breeds will only require 30 minutes of exercise per day, others will require 2 hours of exercise per day.

A word of warning for owners of brachycephalic dogs such as Pugs, Bulldogs, Rottweilers, Boxers, Boston Terriers, etc.: These dogs are prone to heat stroke, so use caution when exercising your flat-faced breed.

Types of Exercise for Your Dog

While walking is a great way to exercise your dog, it is not the only way.

Letting your dog out into your yard to exercise himself will usually not work. Running along the fence line barking at the neighbor’s dog may get some of his physical energy out, but it is most likely not good for his mental health. And expecting him to run around by himself is something most dogs don’t do. If you have more than one dog and they are close in size and age, then you usually have a built-in dog park. Dog play can be a great way to expend energy, but keep in mind it is difficult to know how much exercise your dogs are really getting, so it is best not to count this as the main way they are getting a workout.

If your dog likes to retrieve, then playing ball can be a great way to get some of that pent-up energy out.

Training your dog is the perfect way to exercise your dog’s body and mind. A few short training sessions a day will not only improve your dog’s health but will improve your bond together.

Before Getting Started

Before you start an exercise program with your dog it is a good idea to talk to your vet. Your veterinarian will tell you whether your dog is ready and how much exercise you should begin with.

How Can Dances with Dogs Help?

Our dog walking service can get your dog out when you are working long hours, not physically able to get your dog out for a walk or you just don’t have enough hours in the day. Our training program is perfect for people who want a better-behaved dog, have limited time but can squeeze in a few short training sessions a day, and want to further strengthen their bond with their dog. Contact us if you would like to learn more.

Planning a Trip? What Are Your Best Pet Care Options?

Happy dog with bowl

What are the best Pet Care Options for your pets?

As a pet owner, it is likely that one one of the things on the top of your list when planning a trip is what are your best pet care options for your beloved pet.

While some pet care options may not fit your needs others may be exactly what you are looking for. Here are a few to consider. 

Boarding

Boarding is a popular option, but here are some things to think about:

  1. Most kennels are very loud and can cause undue stress to your dog. If the facility boards both dogs and cats the constant barking of dogs can be especially stressful for your cat.
  2. Does your pet really want to leave home? Most pets do best if left in their own environment, with their own beds, toys and the familiar smells of home.
  3. Car travel to and from the boarding facility can be stressful to both dogs and cats.
  4. While you take every precaution, your pet is still at a higher risk of contracting a disease.
  5. Cats are not big on any kind of change to their surroundings.

Friends and Family

If you want to save money it is safe to say most friends or family members will not charge you to care for your pets. But before imposing on your family or friends here are some things to consider:

  1. Will they know what to do if there is a true emergency? Will they know the signs if your pet is ill and what to do?
  2. Will your pet be their first priority? What happens if they have other plans or commitments?
  3. While they won’t say it outright, asking your friends or family to care for your pet is an imposition especially if you are not paying them.
  4. Can you comfortably tell your friends and family how to care for your pet without sounding like you are their boss?
  5. How will you handle it if they don’t do a good job or something happens to your pet while under their care?
  6. Will they have a backup plan? If your friends or family have an emergency who will take over the care of your pet? Do leave it up to them, make sure you have a contingency plan in place.
  7. Will they send you regular updates? It’s a lot to ask of your friends and family.
  8. Of course, as stated earlier, it is definitely the most affordable option.

Professional Pet Sitter

With a Professional Pet Sitter, your pets get to stay where they really want to, home. A Professional Pet Sitter is skilled to care for all types of pets and will visit your pets as many times per day as you would like and tries to keep your pet on their normal routine.

When you are looking to hire a Professional Pet Sitter here is what you should look for:

  1. Are they true Professional Pet Sitters with bonding and insurance? What other qualifications do they have? You want a business that operates full-time as a pet care company.
  2. Are your visits guaranteed? What is their backup plan?
  3. Do they provide you with a contract? A true Professional Pet Sitter will have a contract that protects you and your pets.
  4. Will they send you updates? A Professional Pet Sitter should happily send you updates and pictures of your beloved pets.

How Can Dances with Dogs Help?

We offer Professional Pet Sitting and Dog Walking as well as professional dog and puppy training. Please contact us if you feel Professional Pet Sitting would be the best option for your pets.

 

 

Destructive Behavior in Dogs: Causes and Solutions

Golden retriever ripping up bed

Destructive behavior comes in many forms.

Chewing, digging and playing are all very normal behaviors for dogs, but sometimes they can get out of hand and become destructive behaviors. One of our dogs destroyed two sofas in a day. Any destructive behavior can be very frustrating, but there are things you can do to help your dog and correct these behaviors.

Why is your dog destructive?

There are several causes for destructive behavior. Here are a few of the more common ones.

  • Separation anxiety – This cause deserves to be at the top of the list as it probably the most common reason a dog exhibits destructive behavior. Dogs with separation anxiety can exhibit behaviors such as tearing through walls, urinating and defecating in the house, excessive vocalizing, and other destructive behaviors. These dogs are so attached to their families that they frantically greet their owners when they return home and may follow their owners from room to room. There are a lot of reasons for a dog having separation anxiety from a death in the family (human or another pet) to a move to a new home. 
  • Boredom – if your dog is not getting enough social interaction or exercise her or she may expend that excess energy on your furniture.
  • Teething – If your puppy is chewing on things it shouldn’t be, it may be because they are teething and their gums are painful. Chewing can relieve the discomfort.
  • Attention-getting – Sometimes negative attention is better than no attention. If you are not reinforcing your dog for being good, but reprimanding your dog for being bad, your dog may be being destructive just to get attention from you.
  • Fear – If your dog is afraid of loud noises such as fireworks or thunderstorms your dog may be trying to escape which can be destructive. Besides your doors, walls, windows and door frames being damaged this can be particularly dangerous for your dog. A panicked dog that is trying to escape can be severely injured.
  • Barrier frustration – Some dogs, like some people, don’t like to be confined to small spaces. So, if you are confining your dog to a crate, bathroom or laundry room they may be destroying things because of being confined in such a small space. Dogs with separation anxiety are prone to dislike being confined.
  • Investigating – Dogs investigate by using their mouths and paws. Your dog’s destructive behavior may be caused by him or her checking out something new or unfamiliar to them.
  • Playing – Your dog’s normal play behavior may result in damaging objects. Dogs love to dig, chew, run, shred, but they may be shredding your sofa, chewing your shoes, or digging up your garden.
  • Hungry – If you are inconsistent in feeding your dog you may have a dog who is destroying things because they are hungry and in the search for food.
  • Not feeling well – Just as with teething puppies an adult dog with gum issues may take to chewing to alleviate the discomfort. Dogs with pica will eat non-food items. Make sure to talk to your veterinarian. 

What you can do to help curb your dog’s destructive behavior:

For dogs who are bored or left alone for long periods of time you can hire a dog walker to come in while you are away. A professional dog walker knows how to alleviate the boredom and give your dog some much-needed exercise and mental stimulation.

If your dog is destructive because they are not getting enough exercise, get out there and walk or play with your dog. If you don’t have the time you can hire a professional dog walker or pet sitter to come in and tire your dog out. A tired dog is a better-behaved dog.

Keep your dog on a regular feeding schedule to help prevent him or her trying to make their own meals.

If you have a teething puppy make sure you are providing enough appropriate things for them to chew on.

For more serious issues such as separation anxiety, fears or phobias please consult with an animal behaviorist.

And if you suspect your dog’s destructive behavior is caused by a medical issue please consult your veterinarian.

Does your dog exhibit destructive behavior? Contact us for more information on our dog and puppy training as well as our dog exercise programs.

When You Can’t Play Outside: 6 Indoor Activities for Dogs

English bulldog lying down white background

Is your dog bored? These fun indoor activities for dogs should brighten their day.

Getting our dogs enough exercise can sometimes be a challenge when you are both stuck inside. It may too hot during the summer months and the summer thunderstorms can certainly hamper outdoor activities. But our dogs need to be engaged both physically and mentally. Here are six indoor activities for dogs that will certainly keep them entertained.

Golden retriever playing tug with rope toy

Playing tug is one of the great indoor activities for dogs.

Tug of War

A good game of tug can be played just about anywhere and is a great way to tire your dog out. There are several tugs toys on the markets. Try to get a tug toy with a handle and that is long enough to keep your hands safely away from enthusiastic teeth.

Dog sniffing wooden box

Find it is a great indoor activity

Find It!

Hide your dog’s favorite treats around the house. Make sure your dog doesn’t see your hiding palaces and keep the treats small to avoid having your dog eat too much. You can also do this with your dog’s food. This is a great way to keep your dog’s mind engaged and satisfy his natural instinct to forage for food.

Dog with paws over eyes

Hide and Seek is fun and a great training game too!

Hide and Seek

You read that right. Hide and seek is a fun way to play with your dog indoors while letting them use their nose to find you. It is also a great way to strengthen their come when called. How to play: Put your dog in a wait and then go hide. Get creative hide behind doors or furniture, in closets or bathrooms. Call your dog’s name once and have him come to find you. Reward him mightily when he finds you and you will be reinforcing him for coming when called. Hide and Seek is a perfect way to train your dog while having fun.

Blue treat dispensing dog toy

Using an interactive treat dispensing toy can be used to feed your dog their meal too.

Interactive Toys

There are many interactive toys on the market. These toys can be stuffed with treats or your dog’s food and your dog must figure out how to get the food out. Some of these toys can be filled with fresh fruit, canned pumpkin, yogurt, canned dog food, peanut butter, etc., frozen and then given to your dog. These frozen treats will keep your dog busy for quite some time.

Small dog with yellow ball in mouth

Playing ball indoors can expend some of your dog’s pent-up energy.

Let’s Play Ball!

Ball? In the house? Yes! All you need is a hallway or an open area and a ball. Toss the ball down the hall for your dog to retrieve.

Westie up on hind legs with girl

Learning new tricks is fun for your dog.

Teach Them A New Trick

Learning never stops for us or our dogs, so take this time to teach your dog a new trick or use this time to freshen up already learned behaviors. Either way, your dog will be working their body and brain.

These are great indoor activities for dogs that will keep your dog entertained inside when you can’t play outside.

What are your favorite indoor activities for dogs?

What Does Pet Sitting Cost in Miami?

Dog paw and human hand

There is more to pet care than the pet sitting cost.

You are planning a business trip or getaway and you have decided to hire a professional pet sitter, but what does pet sitting cost?

On your search, you will find a wide range of prices and while your budget is important, you will be entrusting your beloved pets to someone so there are a few things that you should also consider when choosing a Pet Sitter.

What is Their Experience?

Experience matters when it comes to the care of your pets. Make sure your pet sitter knows not only how to care for your pets, but what to do in an emergency. If you have a shy or fearful pet your pet sitter should know how to work with your pet in order to keep your pet as calm and relaxed as possible. Read our blog on why you should use a professional pet sitter.

How Long Have They Been in Business?

The age of a business is important for many reasons. If they have been in business for a long time it means they have had time to implement proper procedures in order to provide the best pet care possible. Being in business for many years means they are serious about their business and won’t be leaving you to look for another pet sitter next time you need to take a trip.

Do They Have a Back-Up Plan?

An emergency can happen to ANYONE, so having a backup plan matters! What would you do if your pet sitter couldn’t complete their visits to your pets because they had an emergency? Who will care for your pets? What would you do? When hiring a professional pet sitter, you want to know what their back up plan is so that you can relax while you are away.

Do They Use Online Scheduling Technology?

While it may not seem important on the surface, it is actually a very important part. Scheduling software not only makes sure you are scheduled properly and not jotted down on a piece of paper that can get lost or written on a calendar somewhere. It ensures that everyone who needs to know your pets’ care schedule does. Our scheduling software sends an email out each day to our pet sitters so that they always have access to their schedules no matter what. Scheduling software ensures that your pets’ care instructions are always available to your pet sitter and their back up sitter if needed. All care instructions are recorded according to your specifications and how do we know that they are according to your specifications? Because you provide us with those instructions through our software!

Will They Communicate With You?

You want to know that your pet sitter will communicate with you and how. Will it be daily? Every visit? Once in a while? Never? How will they communicate with you? Email? Text? Phone call? A part of our scheduling software allows us to communicate with you at any time.  We send regular updates at every visit so that you can rest assured your pets are being cared for.

So, when looking at what pet sitting cost there is a lot to take into consideration there is so much more than price lone when it comes to the important task of taking great care of your pets.

Please Contact Us To Find Out More About Our Pet Sitting Cost and What We Will Provide You and Your Pets.

 

 

 

 

 

The Importance of Early Puppy Socialization

Two puppies on gravel surface

Puppy Socialization needs to start early

As the owner of a rescue dog who was not properly socialized at an early age, this subject is near and dear to my heart. Because of my dog’s lack of early socialization, he is fearful and reactive. Maybe I am being wishful, but I can see the amazing dog he would have been if he had been socialized early. Don’t get me wrong, he is a wonderful dog, my husband and I love him very much, but if he had been socialized early I think his life would be so much richer and much less stressful.

What is Puppy Socialization?

There is a critical socialization period for puppies that happens between 3 and 12weeks of age. This is when puppies learn about the world and how to become part of it instead of letting it be a big scary place. This is the time when your puppy determines whether people, in general, are good, whether men with beards or wearing hats should be avoided, that children are fun, wet grass is okay to walk on, other dogs are friends, cats are cool, and the list goes on and on. Any experience the puppy is exposed to should be approached so that it is a positive experience for the puppy.

Why Should You Socialize Your Puppy Early?

Small white dog barking while on leash

Puppy Socialization can prevent reactivity.

Socialization is important for so many reasons. Dogs that are not properly socialized tend to be generally fearful of anything new. A leaf blowing down the street or a bicycle left lying in the grass could be enough to make your dog try to run away in fear. Fearful dogs are reluctant to move toward anything new. If you want your dog to enjoy adventures such as a trip to Starbucks for a Puppuccino or to your nearest home improvement store, socialization is extremely important. If a dog was not handled during that all-important socialization period it makes prove difficult to do such common things as grooming and veterinary exams. Fearful dogs can become reactive dogs. A trip to the dog park? Not if your dog wasn’t properly socialized around other dogs. Puppies need to be exposed to a lot of different dogs in a positive way in order to sharpen their dog body language skills. That dog you see on the street that is barking lunging and growling is usually so afraid they just want you to move away from them. It’s the only way they know how to deal with what is scaring them.

At What Age Should Puppy Socialization Begin?

A puppy should start being handled for very short periods of time when they are just days old, but if you don’t have the opportunity to visit your puppy from the time they are born socialization should start as soon as you get your puppy home. While a lot of training facilities offer puppy kindergarten classes they require puppies to have all puppy vaccinations before starting their puppy class. If your puppy has not yet received all of their puppy vaccines check with your veterinarian to see if they hold or know of a puppy preschool class in your area. Puppy preschool classes are for puppies that have not yet had all of their puppy shots. These classes are held in very clean, controlled conditions to limit the risk of exposure to disease.

How to Start Socializing Your Puppy

Two puppies playing in a kiddie pool fill with plastic balls.

Puppy Socialization should be fun for your puppy. Introduce them the lots of new things in a positive way.

While you want your puppy to be comfortable in a variety of scenarios and around lots of different people, dogs and items you must make sure that every exposure is a positive one. Get your puppy enrolled in a puppy class or contact a certified dog trainer to help you with socialization. Expose your puppy to new things slowly. If you want your puppy to have doggy friends, make sure those dogs are fully vaccinated and friendly. Handle your puppy daily, touching all parts of their body including their ears, paws, and nails. Gently lift the flaps of their gums and inspect their teeth. Expose your puppy to new surfaces such as grass, gravel, concrete, sand, tile and laminate floors, carpet, etc. While you want to introduce your puppy to lots of new people, never force your puppy to meet someone or do something as this may actually increase their fear. Use lots of really yummy treats to make each new experience a positive one.

If you would like to learn more about our puppy socialization program, please contact us.