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Okay, great. So today we’re going to be talking about socialization. And socialization is one of my favorite topics because I love working with puppies. And if you have a young puppy at home, socialization is everything. It’s like the main thing
that you need to be working on with your puppy.
If your puppy is in the socialization with window, which we’ll talk about, so And right now, socialization is an even bigger deal because we are in the middle of a pandemic, and socialization just looks really different than it has traditionally looked for our puppies. So want to share before we get started, I want to share a story with you all. So back in 2012, when I got my German Shepherd puppy, I was doing Of course, I was doing all the socialization with him.
And he’s turned out to be a really great dog and we did just like a ton of ton of ton of socialization. And he is a German shepherd and he is kind of feisty, but I can still bring him anywhere. I can bring him everywhere our kids can run up to him. He can be around other dogs, I can take him to Starbucks, he’s just a great all around dog. So I feel pretty confident about my socialization process because of him. And I’ve also of course worked with puppies for the past 15 years I’ve raised a lot of fosters.
And I’ve trained a lot of my clients, dogs and I’ve done a lot of puppy boarding train. So I have a lot of experience with socialization. And I’ve discovered like this release, I have this really specific way that I like to socialize my puppies.
Well, then in January of 2020, I ended up getting
my puppy, Izzy. So Izzy is a cavapoo and I got her and January. She’s eight weeks. And of course what happened just a little bit after that once Coronavirus, so I was able to do some socialization with Izzy pre Coronavirus, but I’ve also been working with her a lot during Coronavirus.
And the big secret is that
a big secret is that it’s not that different, right. So like what I’m doing with her now versus what I was doing with her, then some things are different. I’m not taking her to puppy kindergarten classes, group training classes, but in terms of like our day to day how I’m socializing her home working with her, that’s not that different. And so let’s talk a little bit about the details.
So what is socialization? So socialization is
the period of time from for, let’s see, the period of time for four to 12 weeks, where your puppy is just more sensitive to new experiences. So anything that happens during that timeframe, four to 12 weeks, that is a happy experience for your puppy is going to be really retained. But likewise, anything that happens during that period, that’s a negative experience is going to be more easily retained. Some some breeds go there socialization windows a little bit longer. So their socialization windows actually going to go from, say, like four weeks to 16 weeks. But I think if you’re being conservative, you really want to pack up quite a bit in the four to 12 week window. Since most of us aren’t getting our puppies until eight weeks, we really have a lot of work to do in a short period of time. So eight to 12 weeks, is really like the bulk of your socialization window. So it’s really only four weeks. So if you have a puppy, that’s that age, this is really this why right now this is really what you want to listen to you, you want to stop what you’re doing, you want to just focus and listen to this live. And because that is really, it’s just going to have a lifelong impact on your puppy. If you have a puppy that’s under 16 weeks, you really want to tune in here and listen, because this is going to have a lifelong impact on your puppy. If you have a puppy who’s on the way he’s going to be coming Good for you. You’re ahead of the game, you definitely want to check in and be really focused on this live because I’m going to answer all your questions here. If you have any questions, you can post them in the comments so that I can see them that would be awesome.
But let’s see. So I want to
talk a little bit about the specifics now so we know that window is 40
12 weeks or four to 16 weeks. Now the biggest change between now and before is that before when you were socializing your puppy, you might like, let your puppy go over to your neighbor and your neighbor would be petting your puppy.
Or like the kids in the neighborhood would come over and pet your puppy or your puppy would meet all the other dogs in the neighborhood and like run out to them. And they would all be sniffing each other and playing and all that stuff. Or you’d be going to puppy kindergarten, and your puppy would be playing with a bunch of other puppies in a group class setting. And for a lot of us, depending on what area of the country you live in. That’s not really available to us anymore. So what does it look like now now it’s going to look a little different.
But one of my big tips is, and this this is going back to that story about like Max and Izzy and how like their their training, their socialization process has actually not been that different. And that’s because your puppy doesn’t actually need to touch other dogs or people to grow up into happy and well trained dog. So I’m
going to write that in the comments, your puppy
to touch other dogs for people to?
Well, I should say your puppy doesn’t actually need to touch other dogs or people on your everyday walk
in order to grow up into a happy and well trained dog. And I wanted to write that down in the comments, because I think that that’s just like such an important
piece of it.
I think a lot of
a lot of us, a lot of us think we think that that needs to happen, and it doesn’t actually need to happen. So that’s really important and good to know.
So how do you socialize?
So there’s, I always say that you need three things to get a happy and well trained to raise a happy and well trained adult dog, you need three things you need. And this is like across the board right like so the three things that I really want to see are in there because they’re just so important. You need one, you need the right tools. That’s like critically important. You can’t do anything without the right tools to have courses training. And three is mindset. So we’re going to talk about these three things and how to use this framework to get your socialization done. It’s so easy makes it easy to remember. So for tools, always always we need your dog’s health first, that’s the most important tool that we have. So you want to start with a healthy puppy. If your puppy is dealing with Giardia if your puppy is dealing with qOc Cydia, your puppies dealing with worms, if your puppies dealing with any of those things, deal with medical stuff, first, get your puppy nice and healthy, then do your socialization
you really need to have the next tool is you really need to have treats. There’s no way around it for me. You need treats you need treats to socialize your puppy, I guess you could maybe try to praise your puppy. I don’t know how that that’s a different training approach than mine though. So if that’s the training approach you’re going to go with, that’s just a different training approach. But my approach that I’m going to recommend to all my clients and everything that I’ve done for 15 years, you really need treats and you need a variety of treats. So you need maybe like your puppies kibble that could be like your low level tree, you need a medium level tree that could be like a commercial dog treat. And then you need your high level treats. That would be like little kibble size, like you cut up little kibble sized pieces of boiled chicken or hotdog or string cheese. And so those that treat Arsenal is what’s really going to help you with your puppy and making these experiences that might be neutral or maybe even like a little bit unpleasant, we’re going to shift them into the positive sphere, which is what we really want. We really want your puppy to be having these really happy experiences. So those can all get imprinted in there and your puppy grows up to be this really happy, competent adult dog. So you’ve got your puppies health, you’ve got your puppy, you’ve got the treats, you’re going to need a harness and a leash. You could maybe do this on a collar I really like the harness because work on your loose leash walking at a different time when you’re socializing your puppy when your puppies in the socialization window. You don’t need to be working on your loose leash walking. So that’s why I don’t worry about it. I just put my puppy in something comfortable. I get a nice comfy puppy harness, I get a standard six foot walking leash, and that’s the equipment that I have my puppy wear for socialization that way, let’s say he sees another dog, if he lunges forward or if he jumps forward to see the other dog. He’s not getting a lot of pressure really quickly on his neck which he might be perceiving as something negative. Again, we’re just trying to keep up
These experiences very neutral or positive. So the harness is going to the harness is going to assist you with that.
And then the last tool that you’re going to need, which is probably the most important tool in this whole piece, and this is like the one that’s the most overlooked is the knowledge of your Pepys body language. So you want to be a keen observer of your puppy during the socialization process and you really want to be watching your puppies body language, and with socialization, you know Coronavirus is kind of nice in a way with socialization because you don’t have all these people coming over to bombard you and your puppy. I don’t know about you, but I live in an urban area. I’ve raised puppies for years in Washington, DC. And what happens in Washington DC, if you walk down the street with a cute puppy, like let’s say you have a French Bulldog, forget it. You’re not even getting half a block down the street before people are stopping you. And they’re getting your puppy really revved up and really excited. So in that way Coronavirus is kind of nice because we don’t have that problem anymore.
You can go for your walk and people are kind of staying in a distance. And the thing that’s nice about Matt is it gives your puppy the opportunity to make the first move it gives your puppy the opportunity to be confident which hasn’t happened before like before. If you lived in an urban area and you had a cute puppy, your puppy would just get like mobbed by people and you probably wouldn’t have a choice. Unless you were like this very assertive protective puppy parent.
But now it’s nice people are at a distance. So you can watch your puppy’s body language a little more easily. And you can see like how your puppies actually feeling and that these people are dogs. And they’re not just like reading you right away and interrupting that. So what’s your puppy’s body language? You know? Is their head up? Is their tail up? Do they have a soft loose body? Are they doing a soft little tail wag like that those are all really great signs you can be still be treating your puppy. So if your puppy let’s say your puppy sees
the neighbor’s Labrador, so Lucy the Labrador is walking down the sidewalk. Your puppies heads up her tails up, she’s got this nice soft body nice soft wag you’re gonna be saying Good girl. Good girl treat treat treat.
We could change that scenario, right. So let’s say your puppy sees Lucy the Labrador walking down the street and her heads up and her tails up. But her whole body’s very stiff. And she’s locked on and she’s staring at Lucy the Labrador, we’re still going to be treat treat treating, but in my head, I’m going to know I’m going to say Well, that was a really intense response for my little you know, whatever it is, they tend to Eagles puppy towards this Labrador, I am going to seek out more dogs to pair with treats condition her with treats. I want her to think that seeing all of these large dogs is a great thing. And I’m gonna be giving her a lot of treats. So those are two things you might see other body language to watch out for. If your puppy kind of freezes in place, maybe they lower a little bit that can be a sign that your puppy scared, and more even more obvious, and that sometimes they pancake to the ground, or they run away. I want to caution you on the tails, a lot of people say like, oh, her tails wagging, she’s fine. That’s not necessarily true. So tail wagging is not always an indicator that your puppies happy. A lot of times it can indicate just like their overall energy level. But it, it doesn’t always mean your puppies happy just because they have a tail that’s moving. So I want you to just be aware of that. But so you’re just observing your puppy, you’re observing your puppies body language, I always tell my clients, you know, you might want to keep a puppy journal, I think that’s really helpful. If you keep a puppy journal, then you can just like track your puppy’s progress with all of these things. So that can be great.
So you need those three things have a well trained dog, you need the tools. So we covered all the tools, you need a healthy puppy, you need the treats, the harness and the leash or collar and a leash would be okay. And you need to really be a keen observer of your puppies body language. From the tools, we’re going to move on to the training, the training is actually a little more straightforward. In this one, the training is see a person or a dog or an animal or a traffic cone or a balloon or a flag or any of those things, you fill in the blank. see any of these things that we want to socialize your puppy to your puppy sees it, then you’re going to think you’re going to give them some treats two or three kibble sized treats. And then you’re also going to remember your puppies response, right? So if it was if it had the good risk, if your puppy had the good response, then you just take it in stride and you’re like alright, is this just part of our socialization?
If your puppy had a response that you didn’t love, the puppy was too stiff or scared or barked or something like that. Then you would i would like just think
No doubt in my mind, and I would be like, okay, puppy barked at a large dog. I’m going to be looking for more large dogs.
So you’ve got that. And then
with that, sorry, okay, so you’ve got tools, you’ve got training. So yeah, so that’s that. So you’re just treating when your puppy sees these different things, you really want to get all the different arenas for socialization, right. So most important as humans, you want to your puppy to see men, women, toddlers, middle school students, high schoolers, elderly people, people in wheelchairs, people with canes, people on skateboards, people on bicycles, all the people, all different races, all different sizes, all different tones of voice, all different outfits, hats, umbrellas, all that kind of stuff. And dogs is the other big category, right. So if you live in an urban area, you really want to make sure that your dog is seeing all different kinds of dogs, if you live in a suburban area or a rural area, you still want to make sure your dogs seeing all kinds of dogs, maybe even more so because they’re not going to see them as naturally on your daily walks. So you’re just pairing all of these experiences, seeing all of these things with treats. And then the third piece, the third piece for me is always mindset. So you’ve got your tools, you’ve got your training, but then the third piece for me is always mindset. And four mindset with puppy socialization as I want you to just buckle up.
It’s a marathon. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. It’s about getting out there. If you have a young puppy, it’s about getting out there in your neighborhood daily.
And then maybe like in different areas, or doing socialization field trips a couple times a week, but it’s really about consistency. It’s about getting out there. It’s about continuing just doing it doing it doing it doing it. I think it’s a lot about tracking. You know, I like to track because then I feel like I know, I know what to expect. I know where my puppy needs more work. I know where my puppy needs less work.
So, yeah, so your mindset, it’s a marathon, I would just go at it that I would go at it. You want to be your puppies rock so your puppy can feel scared your puppy can feel excited, your puppy can feel aroused, your puppy can feel overwhelmed all of those things and you are the rock. So your, your body language, your your feelings, all of that. You’re just like neutral to like slightly positive about everything. So you’re probably scared and you’re like good. It’s okay tree. It’s okay tree. Good. It’s okay treat or your puppies aggressive. You’re like, Okay, good. It’s okay, treat. It’s okay. And treat. Not like your puppy. Let’s say like your puppy sees a balloon and your puppy growls and lunges and barks and goes remember.
You don’t want to be like No, don’t do that. Because your puppy is not going to see that you’re like some
I don’t know that you’re some like alpha leader and that they should definitely not bark. That’s not what they’re gonna see. They’re gonna go Oh, wow, my owner is like really scared and upset too. So that’s something that I should definitely be concerned about. Instead, you just want to be like cool as a cucumber. Just like calm steady, be your puppies rock be there for your puppy. So it’s a marathon.
There’s like this. I have two little kids. And there’s this woman who does like parenting stuff for toddlers. And she talks about like, the name of her podcast is actually unruffled. And I think that word is like perfect. Also, it’s perfect for toddlers. But I think it’s also perfect for puppies, right? You want to be unruffled. You want to just be like, cool, calm, it’s just like, no big deal.
So just go through it with your puppy or puppies rock. And that’s really it. So that’s there’s an a big three.
If you want to discuss this further, what I want you to do is I want you to join my free Facebook group for puppy owners. Because in there we do all kinds of discussion on tons of things. I post new topics weakly and then like we go into it on each topic. So it’s a really great place if you want more details. If you want to have a little more back and forth if you have questions, that’s a good place to go. If you want even more specifics about socialization if you’re like me if you need that if you’re like a detail person if you need the details. I want you to go to savvy city dog calm and I want you to join the membership. So I have a membership for dog owners but puppy owners there’s a lot of puppies in there. And but what you can get in the membership is a lot of stuff you get on demand courses you get the live puppy kindergarten classes live help you get office hours, you get all this good stuff. But also you can get the resources so you can get like an
socialization checklists, I give you everything, you don’t even have to think about it, you just like go in there. And just check off every day, it tells you how many things each day that you need to be checking off exactly what you need to be checking off. So you can get those tools and that help that you need there. So. So from this, definitely, I’m glad that you’re here. I’m glad that you’re watching this. But from here, if you want to keep talking about if you still have more questions, join the free group.
Or if you have even more questions, and you want to talk to me directly, and you want me to see your puppy in person, or you want the resources like you want the socialization checklist, if you want the on demand courses on socialization, we also have like potty training puppy bedding with all the things then go to savvy and join the membership because that’s actually going to be your best vehicle. So just to recap, just to recap, everything that we talked about, it was a lot. So I want to just recap.
socialization is the period of time from four to 12 weeks, or maybe 16 weeks. And that’s the period of time where we want to expose our puppies to everything that we want them to be comfortable with as an adult. And because we’re in a pandemic socialization looks different for some people not really mean not really mean as much but for in some ways. But it does look a little different, but not really like a lot of the foundation things you can still do. So this is I call this like my social distancing socialization and socialization with social distancing in mind. And so you are going to have the right tools,
your health, your puppy’s health, your health to but but your puppy cell treats, harness leash, and you’re going to have your puppy body language knowledge. So that’s so important, right. And then you’ve got your social distancing, socialization, training.
And that’s where you get to be at a distance, see the thing treat, see the thing treat, see the thing treats it, see the dog treats, see the baby treat, whatever. So your puppy doesn’t have to approach these things. Remember, your puppy does not need to actually touch other dogs or people in order to grow up into a well adjusted adult dog. So that’s this social distancing socialization, they can see at a distance and get treats, and be in those environments and get treats. And
you also the third piece of my third piece of my
necessary things that you have to have is mindset, right? So it’s a marathon, it’s not a sprint, just you’re in it for the long haul. And then the second thing was, be your puppies rock. So don’t like Don’t, don’t get like swept along your puppies, emotional waves, you just want to be super steady. You just want to be there for your puppy. You want to model for your puppy how you want them to be through this whole process. So if your puppy scared or your puppies aggressive over something, don’t panic. Just be steady. If you need a second opinion, if you need a trainer, come join the membership and talk to me. But mostly, you can just be steady and just watch and just see what happens or join the free Facebook group that I have expert led puppy training, get in there, share a video, get some feedback on that. So but in the moment what I want your puppy to see is that you were just so smooth and calm and steady. So tools, training mindset, that’s it three things you have to remember for puppy socialization during Coronavirus tools, training mindset. Okay, thank you so much for joining me today. And if you have any questions or you want to discuss further, I will be checking the puppy expert led peppy group throughout the day today, maybe a little tomorrow. But if you really want to contact me, the main way to do that is going to be through the membership. That’s where you can actually have office hours with me. I’ll actually be in class with you. And you can get access to all of my materials including that socialization checklist. All right, thanks so much for joining by.