When brining a young puppy into the home, socialization is crucial for the development of a future clear headed family protection dog. Young protection dogs that don’t get proper exposure to other dogs, people, and strange surroundings can often develop behavior issues that will impede them later in life. Protection dogs need to be extremely well socialized and comfortable in a variety of unfamiliar surroundings. From as young as 8 weeks old, protection dogs are very impressionable. During this critical period, your protection dog builds its impressions and attitudes about what is normal and acceptable. Positive experiences with the world around your protection dog build a solid foundation for the rest of your dog’s life. Socialization isn’t just about exposing your protection dog to new things. Protection dog owners need to do their best to ensure their future pet protectors new experiences are positive. A visit to the local park can sometimes do your protection dog more harm than good if you are not careful and paying strict attention. It only takes a split second for a strange dog that seems friendly to take a nip at your puppy. This is a negative experience which can result in a young protection dog associating other animals as being a threat. You also want to be sure to also monitor the humans in this equation, especially if they are not very dog savvy. Picking up a puppy incorrectly or a human scolding them unfairly can have lasting effects on how a young protection dog views the world, especially strangers. Make sure guest in the home understand and respect your rules as it pertains to your protection dog puppy. If you happen to have guests who you feel don’t have much dog etiquette or simply refuse to follow your rules, its best to put your protection dog up until they leave or can learn to respect your wishes. When socializing your protection dog with other strange dogs its best to take things slow. Make sure the dog you are introducing your pup to is not aggressive or plays to rough with your protection dog puppy in a manner in which they can be injured. We like to start outside the home with both dogs on leash. We proceed by taking your protection dog on a walk with the new dog. From there, if all seems well and the older dog is not showing signs of stress or aggression towards your protection dog, we can then let them both of leash to enjoy some healthy play. Always be sure to never leave your protection dog puppy alone with other adult dogs. At the end of the day these are still animals and even the best of friends can stress each other out and that’s where unwanted problems can arise. As for children, the same rules apply. We never want to leave a protection dog puppy alone with small children. Kids will be kids and leaving them unsupervised with a puppy can result in a negative experience which can have lasting effects on a young protection dog. Exposing your protection dog to unfamilair surroundings outside the home is also crucial. From rides in the car to walking through stores and visits to friends houses. This type of exposure outside the home has vital benefits to developing a confident clear headed protection dog. Just be sure to take it slow and always make any new experience as positive as possible. While genetics does play a big role in whether a young dog will be suitable for protection dog work, proper socialization will have a lasting positive effect on your family pet protector for years to come.
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