How are Your Puppy's Social Skills: Shih Tzu Puppy Socialization
Is Shih Tzu puppy
socialization necessary for your new Puppy?
The answer is a resounding YES!
You now have that wonderful bundle of
furry joy, thought about her physical needs, but now it is time for a little socialization.
How are your new puppy’s social skills?
Six Reasons we Must
Puppy Socializing will eliminate many bad
habits and behaviors that can occur in your breed of choice and assure that you
dog will become a good canine citizen.
Many small breed dogs go everywhere
with their owners; some in the luxury of a purse or stroller and others enjoy
frequent walks on their own locomotion. Wherever they go, they must learn
how to respond appropriately in all situations from riding in a car to visiting
Well socialized Shih Tzu puppies are
easier to train, and trained puppies are easier to live with and enjoy.
Very few well trained; socialized
puppies turn into adult dogs that find their way to the local animal shelter or
Socialized dogs won't be labeled with the term, Small Dog
Syndrome, a set of behaviors seen in small dogs such as jumping up on
guests, ignoring commands, making in the house, barking, chewing and anything
else they can get away with. It is a small dog’s way of acting big, and it is
usually the result of the way we treat our pets.
Shih Tzu puppy socialization is also
important because it helps prevent just those behaviors mentioned above that
end up turning into major behavioral problems such as dog phobias, separation
anxiety, aggression, and destructive behavior.
Begin the Moment Your Puppy is Whelped
Shih Tzu puppy socialization begins at
birth, and if you have acquired your puppy from a reputable professional
breeder, you can be sure that he or she has been hard at work, interacting,
touching, holding and exposing your pup to a variety of sights, sounds, smells,
and routine household occurrences.
If the breeder raised the puppies in
her home, your new puppy will already have heard and experienced the vacuum
cleaner and other household appliances at work, the sounds of cats and other
dogs, and felt and played on a variety of textures from wood and carpeting to
tile, brick and stone. Please click on the link to learn more about puppy development.
Depending on the season, your pup will
already have experienced the rustle of leaves, water from a wading pool, the
clap of thunder, or the rain pounding on the windows or the thrill of running
through new fallen snow.
The puppy will have already had had
some encounters with a wide variety of people, children, teens and adults, men
and women, people that wear boots and hat and carry umbrellas.
Some of those people will be tall, some
overweight, and some that talk very loud. This is how your puppy's
breeder is helping in the Shih Tzu puppy socialization process.
The breeder turns over the task of
socializing to you the minute you take your new puppy home.
Socializing your tiny breed dog is not
difficult and for most, the process of socialization is merely a matter of
exposing your puppy to as many new situations as possible, taking note which
situations may be troubling to your puppy, and working to eliminate any
Socialization goes hand in hand with
training so the wise owner will want to make sure his little puppy learns right
from wrong from a very early age. Sounds easy?
Well it can be and should be FUN.
As you begin your life with your new puppy, you will naturally want to show him
off to friends, family and the community at large. Use our check-off list to expose your puppy to many new sights and sounds.
Think about all the different places
you can take your dog. Think about the people you know who will love to
meet your new dog. The first few months of a dog’s life are critical for
socializing, but Shih Tzu puppy socialization and training should be a life
time project that strengthens the bond between the two of you.
Our Little Bit of Advice
Don’t “baby” your puppy or teach him to
fear something such as a thunderstorm, loud noises, air horns, or other large
The best approach you can take when you
perceive your puppy’s fear is to approach them as any good canine mom
would—matter-of-fact. Do not cuddle, coo over, or hold your pet as you
might a frightened child. Simply say, “Oh, that is thunder,” and go about
your business. Your puppy will get the idea.
Socialize Around Other Animals
Do Shih Tzu dogs need to be socialized
around other dogs? Other animals? Some owners say no and the reasons they give are numerous.
My dog is an indoor dog.
I don’t plan to take my dog to a dog park.
I don’t plan to get another dog.
I don’t plan to let my dog interact with other dogs.
My dog will always be in my pooch purse.
These may be noble “plans” but
situations change; people change, and our beloved pets must also adjust in
response to our life changes.
Socializing a puppy to other dogs is much
easier when the dog is young rather than hoping for the best if your life
situation changes and you must push your adult dog to change too.
One of life’s greatest gifts is the
bond and love that develops between a human and their pets. Shih Tzu
puppy socialization is one way to develop that bond and assure that the love
will stretch into the next 15 plus years.
She recommended that by 12-weeks old, puppies should have had these 12 experiences by the time the puppy is 12 weeks old.
Experienced 12 different surfaces such as wood or carpet
Played with 12 different objects such as dog toys, plastic water bottles
Experienced 12 different locations: such as indoors and outdoors
Met and played with 12 new people such as people with hats, children, elderly
Heard 12 different noises such as trash removal trucks, babies crying
Seen 12 fast moving objects such as cars and trucks
Experienced 12 different challenges: climb on, in, off and around a box.
Been handled by owner such as 12 times a week and held in different ways.
Eaten from 12 different shaped containers: such as wobbly bowl, metal, cardboard box,
Eaten in 12 different locations: backyard, in a crate
Played with 12 different puppies [This does NOT mean at the dog park.]
Been alone safely, away from family and other animals (5-45 minutes) 12 times a week.
Experienced a leash and harness 12 different times in 12 different locations.
If you are just picking up your puppy at 12 weeks of age, continue this routine for several more weeks. When making plans to socialize your dog, do take into consideration the puppy's personality. A very outgoing Shih Tzu puppy is likely to thrive in an environment where there are plenty of new sounds, sights and smells. Shy puppies may find all of this too overwhelming.
Best Takeaway: Puppies need socialization and these skills will last a lifetime. However, the first few precious months of a puppy's life should not be overwhelming stimulation after stimulation.
Consider the Goldilocks Principle: Not too much, not too little, but just the right amount of socialization.
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