What can owners do to socialize their PON puppy during bad weather months with the “socialization clock ticking away?” These suggestions may prove helpful:
- Take your PON to dog-friendly places with a pocketful of treats. Everyone time your PON comes into contact with someone, she should get a treat. You can give the treats, or even better, give treats to the person that you meet to give to your PON.
- Consider “PON socialization parties” and invite your dog friendly friends. Ask them to bring big hats, glasses,costumes, coats, shopping bags, and umbrellas. Everyone should give your PON treats while wearing their individual clothing items.
- Bring out warm weather items such as bikes,etc. and use them in front of your PON and give her treats.
- Take your PON to a good, positive reinforcement puppy class.
- Don't stop socializing your PON after the initial socialization period. Research indicates that dogs need continued socialization well past their initial socialization.
- Play music at a low level and pair with treats. Expose your PON to thunderstorms, truck noises, baby noises, etc.
- Practice daily exercises with your PON several times weekly and pair the experience with treats. Daily activities should include gently pulling ears, rubbing paws, and brushing teeth.
- Get your PON used to people playing with her food or approaching her food bowl or bones while she is eating. Food aggression or resource guarding can happen if your PON is not comfortable with people around her food.
- Introduce your PON safely to children on a regular basis.
- Introduce your PON to unusual sights such as elevator doors opening, crowds of people, big hats, snow blowers, moving shovels and anything else that is new. Pair each greeting with delicious treats.
- Practice "proactive" socialization. Do not wait until your PON is reacting to a stimulus in her environment. The stimulus should not have any effect on your PON and then she should get a treat.
- If your PON reacts to something or stops taking treats, move away to a location where she will take treats again.
Focus on socialization now and you can improve the chances that your PON will grow up to be a confident, wonderful dog that you can bring with you anywhere.
Think of socialization as an investment in a happy, well adjusted PON. Contribute your time in now and it will pay off for years and years!