Training & Socialization
Training and Socialization in Pennsylvania
Perceived behavioral issues are one of the most common reasons pets are relinquished to animal shelters. Dogs and cats, in general, wish to avoid conflict. Therefore, when behavioral problems occur it is not due to a desire in your pet to “be bad” but a lack of training, and failure of an owner to recognize a pet’s attempts at communication.
Ideally, training and socialization of a puppy should begin by 8 weeks of age. Puppies need positive experiences with many different types of people, pets, and places in order to learn to form bonds and feel safe and confident in any environment. Exposing your new puppy to friendly, healthy, and well-vaccinated animals is important. Consider a fun puppy class with similarly aged and vaccinated puppies to get your puppy off to the right start. Until your puppy has finished its core vaccine series, it is best to avoid high volume areas like dog parks or pet stores. You cannot be sure of the temperament or vaccination history of dogs you might encounter in such places.
Regardless of whether you have a new puppy or an adult dog, it’s never too late to start training and socialization. The golden rule in either scenario is to use positive reinforcement and expose your pet to new situations slowly. You do not want your dog to become overwhelmed. New experiences should never be stressful but should be instrumental in giving your pet the confidence to want to explore new things. For sound advice please explore the AVSAB’s (American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior) position on the importance of puppy socialization here. Dr. Sophia Yin’s Book “Perfect Puppy in 7 days” is also an invaluable resource that offers great tips on house and crate training, basic commands, and socialization. At your next office visit, purchase your copy at LVC.
Veterinary care is not just medical. At Longwood Veterinary Center we feel strongly one of our jobs is to recognize behavioral issues. We help owners receive appropriate intervention, either from a competent trainer that employs positive reinforcement training techniques or a board-certified veterinary specialist in animal behavior. We encourage you to discuss any behavior related concerns you have with us at each wellness appointment.