Socialization is the most talked about term among pet parents. How many of us truly understand it’s correct meaning or know what exactly it involves.
For me socializing my pet means introducing her to variety of people,situations & environments and creating good associations with them. It means teaching her to cope with everyday situations confidently & focus on me through all distractions.
Having a pet is a responsibility & training them correctly at an early age is very important. I have seen so many new puppy parents unaware about what kind of training is required for puppies right from start.There are many things one needs to teach pets even before they step out of the house. I will talk more about how I socialize Ollie with people/ other pets outside but first I would love to share five things which I started training Ollie right from day one.
Waiting for food :
From day one i started asking Ollie to wait for a few seconds before her food is served. Since she didn’t know any command back then she just had to avoid touching the food bowl / stuffed kong for 4-5 seconds. Once she learnt the SIT command, I asked her to sit for few seconds on a command before serving her food. I gave her lots of verbal praise while doing it. Soon she realized by sitting & waiting patiently she gets her food faster. Now she calmly waits while I measure her food, without me even saying anything.
Sitting while we leash her:
I ask Ollie to sit every time before I put her on a leash. I ask her to sit again before I open the main door & step out. She gets lots of treats & verbal praise for being patient. We practice this everyday before all our walks. I love the look on her face when she is excited to go out for a walk, while trying to be patient at the same time.
Waiting at the door when doorbell rings:
For initial few days Ollie was nervous about new people so she would not go to the door when the doorbell rang. But now that she has settled in well, she has started responding to the doorbell, specially now that she knows it’s a family member or people she meets daily, are outside the door. I simply ask her to sit for 4-5 seconds before I open the door. I’m working on getting her to stay in the Sit position till the person walks in. There’s a long way to go but we are getting there.
Sitting when greeting new people on the road:
Everyone in our building loves Ollie. Kids are always excited to pat her & play with her. Even kids from neighboring buildings start screaming her name when they see us on the walk. I encourage her to meet as many people / kids as she can during her walks. I always carry a few treats with me. I ask her to sit for a few seconds before she greets people. I even make the kids give her treats by taking turns. This way she gets to meet lots of people & hog on all the attention
Trigger Words – Are you ready :
Being a Dog Trainer I have a whole list of things I want to train Ollie to do. For starters I’m getting her used to my trigger words like “Are you ready” . Triggers words are words which I can use to get her attention to me quickly. I usually start saying “Are you ready” in a very excited tone before I start doing things that interests her, like preparing her food, going out for a walk, before a play session or a training session. This helps me build up her drive & get her attention even around distractions.
I will be sharing our experience of introducing Ollie to other people & dogs very soon, so stay tuned……