Dog trains man

Sunday, October 6, 2013

What Every First-time Hovawart Owner Should Know: More Socialization

This is a series of blogs about "What Every First-time Hovawart Owner Should Know", in which each subject is selected - and contributed to - by Hovawart owners.

Venka, a Hovawart service dog, Mind Your Dog

More Socialization

Continuing on the subject of socialization, after last week's socialization with dogs, there is more to talk about still.

Next to dogs, we also need to socialize our puppy with all the things we do in our daily life, so they can become a full-fledged member of our family.

Maybe you drive a car, bike or train. Visit restaurants, malls, marketplaces, your favorite shops - not necessarily the butcher - harbors, car shops, etc. And when you travel or are on holiday, you use hotels, apartments or go camping? What about wild-life or cattle, other pets like cats? And then there is people. You'll meet people and kids that want to greet you and your adorable pup. And ofcourse the delivery boy or mailmen that rings your door bell on a regular basis.

The list is long when you think of it. And all these things we would have to introduce to our puppy, and make sure they have a positive experience with it, to avoid future troubles.
Katja K.: "You also must practice good situational awareness to read your dog, to help him as best you can."
Verena S.: "We've been on holidays with him and took him with us to the restaurants and he was great. He was happy to have his family close and showed up with perfect behaviour. Also as a puppy we took him with us to restaurants and the inner city."
Jan W.: "One thing I learned is not to force an issue in socializing. If the dog doesn't want to play/be stroked/say hello - then don't make them. By doing so, it often just makes the situation worse."
Loes K.: "In the first week we had Ravik I already took him with me for a visit to the hardware store where I work. Also I take him with me when we visit the pet store or a street market. He has always been very easy with people and gentle with small children."
Karina J.: "We did a lot of socializing, and Kashmir likes to greet people. She just likes it short, and then seeks my contact again. Then it is my job to stop people from continuing trying to greet her."
Ellen G.: "Socialization starts already with the breeders. They play a major role in developing the little ones to sound puppies by getting them used to handling, all sorts of noises, movements, people, etc. and this from day one."

Socializing a Hovawart puppy is not a whole lot different or more difficult of how you would socialize any other puppy, from whatever breed or mix. Good socialization requires a lot of effort though. Dr. Ian Dunbar once said each puppy should at least meet 3 new (different) people per day in the first 3 months of his life.

Weapon yourself with a lot of treats, go out there, it is fun to do. When we feed all those new experiences in baby steps and in small increments of time, to avoid our puppy is getting overwhelmed or tired, we are all having a blast setting our puppy up for success in later life. Socialization is fun!


Coming up next: Before you buy!

A big thanks to Africa, Jan Wolfe, Evelyn B., Peggy S., Yvonne B., Anna N., Katja K., Sascha L., Björn S., Loes K., Flora B., Verena S., Heini A., Dave H., Maria E., Judith L., Lone A., Mary A., Hester O., Ine C., Min I., Silvia I., Karina J., Ellen G., for your contributions in selecting and contributing to the subjects.


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