Friday, 25 January 2019 22:07

Dog Social Need: Adolescence and Adult

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Dog Social Need: Adolescence and Adult Dog Social Need: Adolescence and Adult Dog Social Need: Adolescence and Adult

Ah, this is the time where she starts to looks like and adult dog. The bone structure getting stronger and the learning loop haven’t closed yet; this makes them capable of learning tricks, obedience command, and other fun activities fast.

If she were human, then she will be like 18 or 19. She’ll looks like an adult but still thinks like a teen. The physical growth is fully achieved at 1 year age, but not the social and mental growth. So we must take her a bit more serious at this stage.

Just like most teen do, they'll start questioning who's in charge here, asking for a larger "boundaries" about their freedom. So, developing yourself as the pack leader is important. If you do the socialization correctly in the puppy hood, then you'll face less trouble at this age, if you do it wrong, beware, because they are much stronger now, but don’t give up yet, because they still learns everything fast.

The Adolescent Dog Socialization Goals

Develop respect to human (more than just being comfortable) by develop yourself as the pack leader, this part already posted here.
Develop proper response and manner being in social place like meeting other dog, being in a dog show, manner when visiting vet or groomer, manner when walking in the park etc
Maintain what you achieve in puppy hood while adding extra obedience training in her life

How to Socialize Your Adolescence Dog
Walk Your Dog Often
This one is so simple, and I guess you already know what the benefit is. It gives a chance for the dog to know their neighborhood, it also gives the chances to socialize with people or other animal, and it fulfill some physical need (exercise) for the dog. So do this as often as possible or at least once a day.

There is another benefit meeting a random people. You may never know your dog afraid of something. She may afraid of a man who wears shorts, a woman who bring grocery bags, woman with ponytail or man who uses sunglasses. By taking at the park you give her chances to look at many different random people with many different attribute on them. This will make her feel comfortable with variation of people, not just some that she saw everyday.

Even if your dog shows some aggressive behavior toward certain people with certain attribute, you still have the chance to alter their fear. The story will be different if you just know it on adulthood.

Meeting Other Dog
This will be quite challenging, if you do it wrong you can get a dog fight. As a dog owner seeing your dog fighting other dog is the most horrible things to see. So do it carefully.

Some people feel proud having very “sociable” dog (among other dog). They are proud that the dog can get along just in minutes, so they let the dog play with any dog they meet without proper introduction. It’ll be fine when she meets other sociable dog, but it can be dangerous when she meet a dog that guards their privacy.

It’s not always because the “unknown dog” aggressive or timid. But dog also have private area where not any stranger can directly enter it. The private area will be different between dogs, depending how they grow. Some dog comfortable having unknown dog two feet away from where she sits. While some other very open with other dog. Now if you let your dog trespass the “unknown dog’s” private area, you make the “unknown dog” defending. So it’s your fault because you never teach your dog to respect other dog’s private area.

Another misbehaved risk to consider: by allowing your dog directly “plays” with unknown dog, it will be the same as promoting over-excitement when she sees other dogs. This can cause trouble when you walk your dog or bring her to social venue, she’ll get too excited and pull the leash so she can play. She will bark to invite the dog to come when she can’t get closer. She will scratch the door, or jumps through the window chasing the dog that walk on your street. This will cause numerous problems!

So, how to “meet other dog”? Make the proper introduction first. Arrange the introduction with your friend. Schedule the time and route so both of you can meet. But don’t chat yet, act like total stranger. Take her pass-by your friend’s dog and do this several times.

After three or five times, try to chat with your friend but tell your dog to sit. While you chat, let the dog watch each other but don’t let the dog licking, sniffing, touching the head, or other kind of “introduction”. Do this method several times.

The walk and pass by method will make the dog know each other and thinks like “oh, this dog live around the block”. The chat method will let the dog to “watch” each other and recognize one to another visually. If they already feel comfortable being “visually” close, then let the dog greet each other in the dog way.

During this introduction period, you dog may perform “bite inhibition” it may looks like fighting but it’s not, the bite just for knowing who’s got better ranks. To differentiate between “soft bite” and real bite, you can check the resulting damage, if it leaves a bit pain but not causing any injury, then it is the bite inhibition. Otherwise, it’ll show that you have dangerous dog that can’t control their biting behavior.

Being In the Dog Show
Enroll your dog in a show is a great chance to socialize your dog being in the crowd. Dog show usually held in a large room, the large room and the crowd can produce “funny noise” (we call it echo). This is what we looking for. Let your dog hear the funny noise. So she won’t scare of any suspicious sounds she found later in adulthood.

Dog show also a great place to meet other dogs with so many strangers. Plus it offers various face and scents in the room as an added bonus.

If the dog scared, calm her. Gently touch the head, behind the ear, below the muzzle and around the neck. Give some treats since treat can distract her for a while. Don’t forget use calm voice tone so the dog knows the difference between praising and calming.

Groomer and Vet Visit
Groomer and vet will touch your dog to do their job, in their workplace the chance to meet other animal is high, and this makes the place excellent to socialize your dog. Unlike when you take a puppy, now you take a dog. Adolescence dog will have an idea about what to do and what not and able to accept the concept of punishment. So try to direct your dog how to behave in this place.

Maintain Puppy Hood Achievement
What is puppy hood achievement? Did you manage to crate training your puppy? Did you manage to house breaking your puppy? Did you manage to make her stop biting something she shouldn’t? That’s the puppyhood achievement. Since now you can start do some obedience training, you may forget about these basic training. Obedience training is a must, but abandon the basic training in puppy stage will cause so many troubles for you.

The Pitfall of Adolescent Socialization
Socialization continues at this stage, even when you did well at the puppy hood. During the puppy hood we tend to walk her in the same place, meet the same people and the same activity. This is good, but if continued without further socialization, then the dog will be “trapped” to a very small social circle. So, in this stage you need to increase the frequency to meet stranger, meet other dog and other pack.

Take her to walk in the dog park instead of a common park. You’ll be surprise how fast she forget how to behave around stranger if you abandon the old socialization trick you did in puppy hood.

Other pitfall is forcing your dog to meet the “scary” stranger. Don’t force your dog by drag her leash, it just make her defensive and even more scared, calm her a little bit and stand closer to the “scary” person while tease your dog with some treat.

Standing closer to the scary person is the same as signaling that the guy is okay, and the treat is “an offer a dog can’t refuse”.

It may sounds like “bribing” your dog to get closer, but its not, your dog really loves treat, and treat makes her feels calmer, that’s where the hidden benefit is. How can your dog thinking of scary things while chewing her favorite treat? And because the treat is so tasty, it’ll lessen the focus on the scary part.

One more pitfall in this stage is many people thinks the dogs already matured, I can't agree with this. The dog is matured physically, but not mentally/psychologically. The dog will have the unstable mental development at this stage (called puberty) that can screw up everything you teach at the puppy hood.

Once they grow into an adult, altering the behavior or do obedience training will be much more challenging task. So make sure the puberty won't make her turn into completely different dog (in personality).

Extra Tips
Obedience training is a great way to tell your adolescence dog to behave. SIT command for example, can be used for various way (and in creative way) to control your dog. Order sit when she’s going to jump on you, tell sit when the first time she meet stranger (so she won’t run, hide or jump at the stranger), tell sit when she try to play “catch me if you can” game, if she ignore say “BAD SIT, SIT” don’t chase your dog, it just add the excitement. Just repeat the word, again, again and again until she sit and say “GOOD SIT”, and make sure she can’t roar freely to the street since a dog will most likely run away when ignored.

Adult (3 Years to 7-8 Years)
This is where you can be proud of your dog. You’re the man who makes her behave the way she behaves right now. You are the one who turn her into a great companion or just another spoiled dog. The bonds between you two are stronger than ever! She starts to love you unconditionally and you start take her as your buddy!

She already knows what to do, how to behave, and the manner you taught all these years. She already “integrates” it with her lifestyle. If you do it right, you’ll feel so confident to take your dog off leash, because you already know how she behave and act.

If compared to a soldier, your dog now has survived many “battle” and passes all the drill. She come when you told her to come, she sit when you told her to sit, etc. She already knows what to do, she already mastered the skill, and all you have to do is just “command and watch” in case she misses something or do it wrong.

Since the learning loop isn’t over yet, they still have a very good chance to join advanced activity like earth dog trial or shutzhund competitions. The fundamental “shape” of your dog has becoming much more stable at this stage, so expect little trouble in this stage if you did well in adolescent and can keep their mind busy in adulthood.

The goal and the method are quite similar with adolescent dog, with different pitfall you should be aware of. So the “goal” and “how to” part dismissed from this part of article.

The Pitfall of Adulthood Socialization
The pitfall in this stage is many owners get too “confident” with the achievement. They think the dog’s behavior is “fixed” and unchangeable, they will start to spend less time with the dog, and they start to forget giving praise or treats. Especially when thinking, it is “normal” and it happens every other day before. This can break your dog’s heart.

Unlike adolescence dog who questioning the authority, she’ll questioning your love like “what did I do wrong”? or “why master didn’t love me anymore”? Once your dog thinks that way, she’ll try anything to get your love back by changing the behavior.

Of course since this is a self correction, the instinct will guide her. Guess what the resulting effect? She’ll return to “untrained dog”. So, always be sensitive and acknowledge her good behavior and reward it with praise or treats, make her feel special by being good is never ending needs for any trained dog.

Make sure you maintain the social routine to prevent isolation. Isolated dog will bear lots of stress and doing instinctual behavior like chewing or digging. Such behavior can give her temporary relieve. If you make your dog stressed by not give her enough social and physical exercise, then this behavior will begin to rise. Play with your dog often, and take her for a walk every day, sure she’ll appreciate your concern about her needs.

Read 130 times Last modified on Friday, 25 January 2019 22:17

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