Tip of the Week
Just as important as housebreaking and good behaviors, socialization is a vital part of a puppy’s training regimen.
For families with a new dog in their home, getting started with this essential training should begin right away. In fact, the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB) takes the position that puppies can start their first socialization classes as early as seven to eight weeks, and seven days after the first shot and deworming treatment.
“Before 12 weeks is the best window for meeting new people, other dogs and taking in new experiences that will inform puppies’ future behavior and reactions,” said Debbie McKnight, a PetSmart training expert.
Puppies that socialize with other puppies, dogs and humans develop into healthy, confident dogs. A dog that hasn’t been properly socialized may startle easily, may bark at people they are not familiar with, or react poorly to other new experiences in the future. This type of interaction is especially important during the winter months, when dogs spend a lot of time indoors.
Good socialization is an everyday commitment. Here are some ways to create a healthy environment for your four-legged friend:
- Play: Attend scheduled classes and find times for interactions with adult dogs that are tolerant and healthy, as well as other puppies.
- People: Allow the puppy to meet as many people as possible within their comfort level. The pet parent needs to be an advocate for his or her puppy and not allow petting if it makes the puppy nervous.
- Experiences: Expose the puppy to different surfaces, sounds and other situations.
Tips for good play
“Good play involves give and take from both dogs,” McKnight said. “The important part is that all parties are having a good time.” Here are some tips to make the most of playtime:
- If the pet parent is worried the play may be getting too rough, try moving away the more assertive puppy. If the less assertive puppy moves to keep the play going, they are probably both having fun.
- Tug toys can be used if there are no signs of aggression.
- Family Features/PetSmart
Family Movie Night
“The Nut Job”
Length: 85 minutes
Synopsis: An incorrigibly self-serving exiled squirrel finds himself helping his former park brethren raid a nut store to survive, that is also the front for a human gang’s bank robbery.
Violence/scary rating: 2
Sexual-content rating: 1
Profanity rating: 2
Drugs/alcohol rating: 1.5
Family Time rating: 2. This is a good PG movie for the whole family.
(Ratings are judged on a five-point scale, with 5 being “bad for kids” and 1 being “fine for kids.”)
“Baby Bear,” by Kadir Nelson
Synopsis: From Kadir Nelson, winner of the Caldecott Honor and the Coretta Scott King Author and Illustrator Awards, comes a transcendent picture book in the tradition of Margaret Wise Brown about a lost little bear searching for home. This simple story works on so many levels: as the tale of a bear who finds his way home with the help of his animal friends; as a reassuring way to show children how to comfort themselves and find their way in everyday life; and on a more philosophical level, as a method of teaching readers that by listening to your heart and trusting yourself, you will always find a true home within yourself — and that even when it feels like you are alone, you never really are. - Balzer + Bray
Did You Know
According to a study published in JAMA Pediatrics, Italian researchers say that infants who are given probiotics have fewer issues with colic and acid reflux.
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Family Time: Training tips for a socialized, healthy pet
Tip of the Week