Author Baskina Sofya
Translator Maxim Moroz
Note. This article describes approaches applicable to puppies during the socialization period or a little later. These tips may be not applicable for breeding puppies over 5 months.
Usually puppies aged 2.5 months are going out relatively calmly. On 3 months age, the so called «age of fears starts and the puppy begins to fear. It will also be in fear, appearing on the street for the first time at this age. In 4 months age the puppy has already missed a large part of the socialization period, in which he could master the language of its kind well. The puppy, who appeared on the street in the age of over 4 months, with few exceptions, will be in fear and this fear may lead to very serious problems. Therefore, the main rule for all dog owners in relation to walk-outs is:
Start walking as soon as possible and keep walking every day at least 3 hours a day! Bad weather, poor health, dog fear to the street — these are not a justification for reducing of number and duration of walks with your dog!
For the first few days it is advisable to carry the puppy out on the arms. For the first time, take the puppy to the house on your arms as well. Starting from the second day — carry your pet out from the house and then let him to get back home with his own paws. Take your time — let the puppy to explore the entrance, to sniff around corners, to stand in a doorway, to walk through the stairs. At the same time, don’t let your dog to rush, to run back from you or to refuse to go. Should this happens — hold the puppy with a leash, or gently him with you. In case of harness, pulling your puppy will not be difficult. Pulling of puppy with a collar is unfavorable, so you can make an impromptu harness — put a leash under the puppy’s belly and pull him with the collar and a loop that supports puppy under the belly.
1) never pat, soothe the puppy while he is in fear, tugs his tail between legs, holds his ears back, etc. Only if puppy starts to jitter — you can take him on your arms and carry away. Until he’s not jitter — just wait. Once he exerted courage, went to sniff something or become interested in another dog — that’s the right moment to praise and pat him. This will tell your puppy: well done, now you make it right.
2) try not to let your puppy to take refuge in your legs. Once he try to do so — take a step or two in place or to the side. Puppy may walk under your feet — it is normal, but he should not squeeze up against your legs like in a corner.
3) with such puppy “step forward — step back” principle is effective. Relax, straighten up, show the dog, that you are not afraid of anything, and so she has have nothing to fear as well. Drag a puppy in a harness using a leash for just one step ahead to the object of his fear (car, dog, stranger, etc.) and wait. As soon as he ceases to eager back and pull on the leash — make a step (only one) back (to the place, where the dog eagers to). Praise. Wait. Step forward again. Wait. Has relaxed — make a step back. After several repetitions the puppy will make a step forward calmly. Praise well. Back away. And then make 2 steps forward.
You will spend nearly two hours for such walk. On next day you should exercise the same principle for one hour. Usually after this puppies are starting to walk confidently and are getting acquainted with dogs easier.
4) now, when the puppy started to walk outdoors normally, you need to introduce your puppy immediately to everybody, who is not going to eat him — dogs, children, grannies You should allow other people to pat and treat your puppy (for this moment, absence of fears to people is more important than your wish to avoid your dog to take food from them).
To make a company for your puppy, seek for adult dogs and only then — for other puppies. Adult dogs are better in teaching puppies to communicate than puppies with the same problems your puppy experiences already. In case of adult dogs are snarling at your puppy and make him fall on his back — do not protect him, keep silent and wait, because the most important for a puppy is to learn how to demonstrate his submission to stronger dogs. If he is able to stop aggression on himself — he is safe. But keep vigilant, some adult dogs are not good in communication, and some of females, even normal ones, are aggressive to all puppies. When other dog snarling, barking to your puppy — just wait, his education is in progress. When he gets bites and wailing — you should protect him and get him out from this situation. And after that, you should socialize your puppy with adequate dogs immediately in order to wipe the negative experience from his memory.
And the most important here — is your calm and patience, showing your little dog: everything that happens with him is fine, it’s nothing to fear. And you will succeed!
P.S. In my advice practice, frequent cases are dogs, that were brought to the city or taken outdoors in 5-7 months age or even later. Overcome of fears to outdoor, dogs and strangers in such case is possible, but methods, different from described above, shall be used. Work with dogs that have experienced a deprivation period, will be described in “Dogs behavior problems” section.