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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-09-2008, 07:28 AM Thread Starter
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Question Socializing a new family member

Hi everyone,

Since I'm new at posting here, I though I would throw out a topic for discussion and see what others have to say about it. I hope this isn't something that has been discussed too much, but since I was asked about it, I thought I would see what others on this forum thought.

Often young puppies go through several "fear" stages, which can be simply a bump in the road, or turn into a major issue. As a breeder, I start puppies with lots of handling, meeting new folks, trying out new situations and stimulus.

Once they leave my home for their new forever home, everything is new, and sometimes they go through another fear-stage. Socialization is a long process, and the breeder can get things started, and the new family has to continue to help this puppy to become a well adjusted dog.

Here's some things I'd like to hear from you: (and breeders, please feel free to join in on this...I'd also love to hear your input)
  • What things can a breeder do to better prepare the puppy for the new environment?
  • What things should the new family do to help the new baby in the transition?
  • Do you all take your babies to a puppy class?
  • If there isn't a class available, what kinds of things should the family do instead?

There are many facets of socialization - something things work better for some puppies and dogs, and may not work as well for others. So it will be good to hear lots of ideas.

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts!

Hugo, MN
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-09-2008, 08:23 AM
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In anticipation of a new puppy, I have thought of this a lot. Perhaps the breeder could get a small stuffed toy or piece of blanket that has the scent of mom or siblings to give to the new buyer to take home. This would help initially in keeping the fear level down a bit.

My daughter, who is a foster mom for cats and dogs (and ends up keeping far too many) says that I should let the puppy sleep with me the first night so it will bond with me. Also to bring to bed a small blanket or toy so that my scent will linger on them and help the puppy to assimilate. I realize this isn't an option for some people, but for me this would work.

I have also purchased a little stuffed kitty and puppy (it took me forever to find a puppy) that has a little battery operated heart that goes inside them and beats. There is also a little heating packet that can be inserted to assimilate warmth. Although these little Havanese are far too smart to be fooled, it will help with getting used to their new surroundings.

I am going to sign up for puppy classes. I believe these classes aren't really for the puppies, but for the humans. I need to be taught discipline. I am also going to sign up for obedience training (again mostly for me), and any other class that can assist me. Puppies just like small children need discipline and boundaries, and I have to remember that when I am stared at with intent wanting eyes that will melt my heart.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-09-2008, 09:35 AM
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Well I am looking for the next dog to be great in the performance venue so I have been keeping an updated list on what to do. Dora is great listening but she is very submissive and has "issues" working far away from me. Dora was bought as a pet and I socialized her a lot but at 6 months, she had a lot of her personality developed. We had to do a lot of back work in socialization.

A woman on my agility list posted this for what she thought is the way best way to socialize pups that are going into performance homes (dogs that will work well with people, be inquisitive, social, and outgoing). Warning it is a bit long so if you want just skim it

Make sure all experiences are safe and positive for the puppy. Each
encounter should include treats and lots of praise. Slow down and
add distance if your puppy is scared!
By the time a puppy is 12 weeks old, it should have:
(If your puppy is over 12 weeks start right away with this
socialization guide.)

Experienced 12 different surfaces: wood, woodchips, carpet, tile,
cement, linoleum, grass, wet grass, dirt, mud, puddles, deep pea
gravel, grates, uneven surfaces, on a table, on a chair, etc......

Played with 12 different objects: fuzzy toys, big & small balls,
hard toys, funny sounding toys, wooden items, paper or cardboard
items, milk jugs, metal items, car keys, etc.......

Experienced 12 different locations: front yard (daily), other
people's homes, school yard, lake, pond, river, boat, basement,
elevator, car, moving car, garage, laundry room, kennel,
veterinarian hospital (just to say hi & visit, lots of cookies, no
vaccinations) , grooming salon (just to say hi), etc....

Met and played with 12 new people (outside of family): include
children, adults (mostly men), elderly adults, people in
wheelchairs, walkers, people with canes, crutches, hats, sunglasses,

Exposed to 12 different noises (ALWAYS keep positive and watch
puppy's comfort level – we don't want the puppy scared): garage door
opening, doorbell, children playing, babies screaming, big trucks,
Harley motorcycles, skateboards, washing machine, shopping carts
rolling, power boat, clapping, loud singing, pan dropping, horses
neighing, vacuums, lawnmowers, birthday party, etc…

Exposed to 12 fast moving objects (don't allow to chase):
skateboards, roller-skates, bicycles, motorcycles, cars, people
running, cats running, scooters, vacuums, children running, children
playing soccer, squirrels, cats, horses running, cows running, etc…

Experienced 12 different challenges: climb on, in, off and around a
box, go through a cardboard tunnel, climb up and down steps, climb
over obstacles, play hide & seek, go in and out a doorway with a
step up or down, exposed to an electric sliding door, umbrella,
balloons, walk on a wobbly table (plank of wood with a small rock
underneath), jump over a broom, climb over a log, bathtub (and bath)

Handled by owner (& family) 12 times a week: hold under arm (like a
football), hold to chest, hold on floor near owner, hold in-between
owner's legs, hold head, look in ears, mouth, in-between toes, hold
and take temperature (ask veterinarian) , hold like a baby, trim toe
nails, hold in lap, etc…

Eaten from 12 different shaped containers: wobbly bowl, metal,
cardboard box, paper, coffee cup, china, pie plate, plastic, frying
pan, Kong, Treatball, Bustercube, spoon fed, paper bag, etc......

Eaten in 12 different locations: back yard, front yard, crate,
kitchen, basement, laundry room, bathroom, friend's house, car,
school yard, bathtub, up high (on work bench), under umbrella,

Played with 12 different puppies (or safe adult dogs) as much as
Left alone safely, away from family & other animals (5-45 minutes)
12 times a week.
Experienced a leash and collar 12 different times in 12 different

Positive Paws Dog Training ©2002 – Margaret Hughes
Adapted with permission from Pat Schaap's "RULE OF 7's" for 7 week
old puppies

Dora, Dasher, & Belle's Mommy

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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-09-2008, 10:14 AM
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Fantastic list, Amanda! I'm sure it will help many. I know there are many things on that list I'd have never thought of. Thanks for posting it.


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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-09-2008, 10:20 AM
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Wow, I've got some work to do. Thanks Amanda. I'm going to print it out for reference.

"Hav" a Great Day,
Debbie & Sam & Delilah

"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." - Dr. Suess.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-09-2008, 11:00 AM
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I will also add that how I socialized Dora (Belle was born social and outgoing- too much so!) was really started in puppy classes- we had a class that gave us a weekly check list on what to introduce your dog too each week-vacuum, horse, person with wheel chair, etc. It was kind of a game and the person with the most checks was the weekly winner. Then I just became addicted to training classes after that


Dora, Dasher, & Belle's Mommy

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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-09-2008, 02:59 PM
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Great list Amanda. I think it's important for the breeder to have the dog socialized with other dogs and with people of different ages. When Milo first came to me he loved everybody and thought everybody loved him. I used to take him to work with me every day that I was there. Then I got sick and I didn't go into the office and didn't take him when I did. When I tried again he was a little hesitant. Of course after a few minutes of walking all around the place and sniffing everything he was his old friendly, sweet self.

<b>Just Milo and me, and . . . </b>Bailey makes three . . . until Ruby said, "hey, what about me?"
Geri, Milo, Bailey and HRH Princess Ruby Tuesday

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