This is the second article in a series about socializing puppies. Before reading this article, please read: Socialize & Train Puppies Early, Tip One
Last week the nicest family with a three-month-old puppy came to visit us at Doggie Care Resort. This couple had two young teenage girls that were incredibly well behaved. The family was checking to see if they would like Doggie Care Resort enough to leave their dog for boarding with us while they went on vacation. When they arrived, the dog was wearing a warm sweater and was wrapped in a blanket. The wife was hugging the dog as though the dog’s very life was in serious jeopardy.
I asked if the pup had all her shots and then looked at the vet record. Yep, good job, the dog had all her shots. So I asked them to put the dog on the ground and take the leash off the dog so she could meet and greet my wonderfully socialized dog, Maddie. The family looked wildly at each other. Four pairs of eyes looked bewildered and totally afraid for their baby puppy. They said their dog had never been around other dogs. In fact, this puppy had never even been outside of their home. At such a young age, this three-month old puppy required their protection so they thought.
Finally they put the fully stressed puppy on the ground with Maddie who sniffed the back end of the fearful pup, then sat down and looked away. The pup’s tail was down plastered underneath her slinking body as she tried to crawl up the legs of her owners. I was actually shocked when the people had never seen a dog smell the rear end of another dog and couldn’t understand why that would happen. The people desparately wanted to pick up the dog to rescue her but I told them not to touch her and leave her down so she would figure out that all was okay.
To finalize this example of owners who do not understand the importance of doggie socializing, after about 15 minutes, their young pup was happily play bowing with Maddie and they were nuzzling each other while performing small play moves. Their dog’s tail went up, her eyes softened and her tail started wagging. In answer to your question, yes, the people ended up booking their dog with us and said they were glad they found us. But I want to discuss this lack of socializing a lot more.
I hope you will read Article Three in this series. It includes an example of a dog named Sandy who came for daycare and who have never been socialized around other dogs. It is a sad story with a happy ending.