Q. My puppy doesn't have all it's shots. Isn't it to young to socialize?
A. The prime socialization and imprint period for a puppy is upto 16 weeks of age. According to the Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (ASVAB). "While puppies’ immune systems are still developing during these early months, the combination of maternal immunity, primary vaccination, and American appropriate care makes the risk of infection relatively small compared to the chance of death from a behavior problem." Many dogs are relinquished to rescue because of common problems that could have been avoided if they were properly socialized.
Q. Should I take my puppy to dog parks to socialize?
A. NO! High traffic areas such as dog parks and pet stores should be avoided. Although your puppy does have some immunity these areas are frequented by rescues many which transport dogs that may be sick. Unfortunetly many dog owners that frequent dog parks don't understand dog behavior and have little control of their dogs. It only takes one bad incident with another dog to create a reactive dog of your puppy.
Q. I have another dog and children, won't that be enough to socialize?
A. No, not if you want a well rounded pet. We send our children to pre school to learn their ABC's but also to learn about the world around them. We must do the same for our puppies. People, children, dogs, environments and tactiles are extremely important to expose your pup to.
Q. Shouldn't I wait till my pup is 6months old to start training?
A. Training should start the day you bring your puppy home. Puppies display natural behaviors that we want to capture and reinforce while they are young. Waiting till 6months of age is "old school" which is based on focusing on the bad behaviors and using "positive punishment" methods.
Q. What is "Positive Reinforcement" training?
A. There are 4 quadrants to learning. Positive Reinforcement, Positive Punishment, Negative Reinforcement, Negative Punishment. So, Postive means to add something, Negative means to take away. Positive Reinforcment means to give something good or motivating to the subject in order to increase or solidfy the behavior that you want. For dogs, food, affection, toys or play.
Q. Will I always need to walk around with treats in my pockets?
A. In the beginning of teaching a new behavior and raising the criteria, yes you will be using a lot of food, but also incorporating praise and play. You will also be taught the use of life rewards through out your day to train your dog. Understanding what motivates your dog is the key to a good working relationship.