The Puppy Training Podcast

Episode #89 Socialization Tips

February 03, 2022 Baxter & Bella Puppy Training Season 5 Episode 89
The Puppy Training Podcast
Episode #89 Socialization Tips
Show Notes Transcript

Join Amy and  BAXTER & Bella trainer, Barbara Cannon for a discussion on socialization. Learn what it is, why it matters and how to achieve effective socialization. Learn ways to help a puppy who is fearful of something to change their outlook and live a more balanced life! 

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Amy:

This is the puppy training podcast episode number 89 socialization tips this podcast is designed to help you on your journey of becoming best friends through love and learning as you train your own dog from home, and I'm here to help you every step of the way, this is the puppy training podcast. And I'm your host, Amy Jensen. Hi, welcome to the puppy training Podcast. I'm so excited that you're here. Today, we are talking about one of my favorite topics when it comes to working with dogs. It's something that I'm very passionate about. And I think it's super important. And my trainer Barbara also feels the same way. And so I brought her on the podcast today to share some ideas that she has surrounding it. So welcome, Barbara. Thanks for joining me today.

Barbara Cannon:

Thanks, Amy. It's great to be here.

Amy:

We're excited to get to know you a little bit. So before we jump into socialization, we you just tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you've been working with dogs.

Barbara Cannon:

Sure. Well, I've had dogs all my life like a lot of people. And about 10 years ago, I decided I really wanted to train service dogs. So I went to the Bergen University of canine studies and got a degree in a as a assistance dog trainer. And I've been training since in various organizations and my last service dog training job was was Paws for purple hearts. And I was in San Antonio, Texas. And unfortunately, a COVID came along and I wanted to come back to California. And here I am working for you now. And I'm just I love this job. And I love talking to all of our clients. It's really fun.

Amy:

I know they enjoy you as well, we get a lot of good feedback about your one on one sessions and how much they love, Barbara. So thanks for all you do. Well, what's your favorite thing to train a dog to do out of all of your experience?

Barbara Cannon:

Well, I love service dog training, I think it's it's really challenging to get dogs to do things like turn on and off lights, close refrigerator doors, open refrigerator doors, pick up things for people, all of those are very advanced. And I love you know, seeing dogs be successful with that. And know that those tasks are going to be really useful for people who are in wheelchairs, or, you know, it's usually mobility that they're working that I'm working on when I'm doing that. That's fascinating work. And it's so fun to see how much these dogs can help people. Incredible. It's incredible. Dogs are so smart. I think we underestimate them all the time and how much they can learn.

Amy:

I agree I love watching these dogs help other people and just seeing all of the things that they can do for us. It's super rewarding work. Okay, let's get into socialization. Will you explain for those listening what socialization is, and just give us a basic overview of it?

Barbara Cannon:

Sure, well, socialization is basically exposure of your dog to as many different things in life as they're going to confront, you know, going forward. So there's a critical period that we talked about between eight weeks and 14 weeks or eight weeks in 16 weeks where dogs need to be socialized in order to move forward. The reason I'm so passionate about it is because I've trained a couple dogs who have been fearful, and, once they are fearful, it's really hard to get them to move forward. And those dogs missed that important socialization period. And I really feel like that's critical for our dogs. I think a lot of people think that socialization is just about your dog meeting other dogs, when it's really much more than that. It's it's exposing them to sounds, sights, other people, anything they're going to come in contact with on a daily basis, they need to have that experience as early in life as possible. And sometimes even if the breeder is doing socialization, even better, if they can start it even earlier. I think that's even important as well. But certainly as a as a dog owner, if you get your puppy at eight weeks, you want to really focus on that between eight and 14 weeks.

Amy:

Yeah, I'm glad that you brought that up. Because that's something that a lot of people don't understand or know. And if you don't know that, then it's easy to miss those next few weeks when you first get a puppy home because you're overwhelmed.

Barbara Cannon:

Yes, exactly. And that's not to say that it is important after 14 weeks. It's important throughout your puppy's life, obviously in your dog's life, you can always continue socializing, but there is a critical learning window. The other thing that comes up with a lot of people is oh, I can't put my dog on the ground. Which seems contrary to what we're trying to accomplish, but it's not because you can carry your dog around. You can put your puppy in a puppy pouch or a sling, or just carry them around and have them experienced all kinds of different sounds, sights, people, and that's what we want to do. We want to give them that kind of exposure.

Amy:

I think it's important to know also that we focus on positive to neutral experiences for our puppy, absolutely, they will see things that they are afraid of and we need to handle those in very careful ways. What are your thoughts on that?

Barbara Cannon:

It helps you learn what your dog is a little afraid of. And you can do what we call counter conditioning, which is to back up a little bit, give him a little bit more space, and reward him for being calm, give him slower exposure to those things that he's afraid of. And that's what I have spent a lot of time doing with dogs that were under socialized is doing what we call counter conditioning. We don't want to have to get to that point where we're just having to counter condition everything in our dog's life. Again, why it's so important to do it early, earlier rather than later.

Amy:

Yeah. So thank you for that background on that. Will you explain to us in a nutshell how you would socialize a new puppy that came to you?

Barbara Cannon:

Sure. Well, first of all, I want to say that you have a great list on our website, which I love, and I direct people to it all the time, which is all the different places you should try and take your dog and what you should do, and should you carry should you not carry, I think it's a great list. And I hope that people are using it. But I'm going to be wanting to take my puppy out carrying my puppy out to stores on walks. And that's probably one of the first things I'm going to want to do is just try to expose them to as many different sounds and sights as possible. There's also a lot of service dog organizations use indoor socialization, kinds of things like hanging mobiles, and with lots of different toys that they can walk through, and a swimming pool that has plastic bottles in it and things like that. So when we're training dogs, very often what we do is we'll have a will have vacuum cleaners that we bring out, we'll have all the things that dogs find, might find intimidating toys, you know, we go around and look for things that are going to be perhaps obstacles for the dog and slowly expose them to those things. And some dogs are just fine with them. But for instance, the last dog that I was training was really afraid of things like things that made noise and moved like vacuum cleaners and things like that. And I had to go very slowly with her to get her used to get vacuum cleaner.

Amy:

So yeah, I would love to dive into that just a little more. Let's go with the vacuum concept. Okay, and let's say puppy scared of a vacuum, can you just help those families who are maybe experiencing the same thing? How did you get started with that?

Barbara Cannon:

Sure. So I've had a couple of dogs where I've had to do this where first I just parked the vacuum, and I just leave it in the room and let the dog come up to it while it's not turned on, you want to work from what's going to trigger them the least to what's going to trigger them the most. So you want to work with a vacuum cleaner that's parked. And then I will take the puppy away for a distance have somebody else turn the vacuum cleaner on and off for a second, while I'm rewarding, rewarding, rewarding, making it positive. And then we just move closer and closer and closer. And that's the important thing when you're trying to socialize a dog to something like that is distance is your friend. Always, always

Amy:

Yeah, I love that you pointed out that it's about watching your dog and observing them and what they're always, if you can back up to the point where the dog is calm comfortable with. And that distance concept is really important that we give them space, if they want to move away from the vacuum, we let them move away from the vacuum. If and reward the mayor, that's where you want to reward them. they go check it out on their own, we reward them and pay them for that. And let them like you said warm up on their own. So So eventually, with one of my dogs, I got to the point where I thanks for that description.

Barbara Cannon:

Yes. And I would add that we never want to force a dog to do something they don't want to do. If they're not you know, I would start running the vacuum and I would be unwilling to go across a surface or go down a street, we want to encourage them to go if we can, you know, and sometimes rewarding her, she would be walking along with me and we refocussing walking away coming back, they'll be more willing to do it. But we never want to force a fearful dog to do would just vacuum together, she would be following me along, I anything they don't want to do. We just want to strongly encourage them. If they don't want to do it, come back to it would be rewarding her as I as I was at vacuuming, and that was a later and try it again.

Amy:

Awesome advice, great for new families starting out with maybe they aren't aware of socialization, or maybe what to dog that was very much afraid of vacuum cleaners. So that's what do when their dog gives them this response. So thank you. I appreciate you being here, Barbara to talk about you're going to work up to is very slowly you're going to work socialization. Before we go I want to find out a little bit more about you and let our listeners learn a little bit more about you. So as a trainer, I'm curious. I think I know the up to the dog being with you while the vacuum cleaners on and answer, but I'm going to let you answer. What is your most commonly asked training question? then when it's moving a little bit, then it's moving a little

Barbara Cannon:

Well, that's pretty easy. Amy, as you know, people ask us about biting all the time, because puppies bite. bit more. And you're just going to build that up. I mean, it's just what they do naturally. What I always tell people is you know, this is natural behavior. This is the way puppies play with each other. So we're just teaching them our rules, you know, rather than their dog rules, which their dog rules are, you know, you can buy it as much as you want, but not with people. So that is easily the most common question I get.

Amy:

I really enjoy when I have a client either on a one on one video session, or in one of our classes and courses, I love to show the video of the litter of puppies playing with each other. And they all get this aha moment of, oh, that's how my puppy is playing with me. Oh, that's what they know how to do. And then we can dive into here's how we changed that.

Barbara Cannon:

Yes, exactly. And I will add that I talk a lot about overstimulation because that goes hand in hand with biting. And I think people are often surprised when I say your puppy has to have six to eight hours of sleep during the day, as well as six to eight hours of sleep at night. And making sure that your puppy is on a regular sleep schedule. And I've had people come back to me go oh my gosh, that made such a difference in my dog's life. And then the biting and the barking and the jumping. It's such a difference. And if that barking is and biting is happening during early morning hours or early evening hours, that's typically when dogs are most active. And so that's why we see a lot of zoomy sessions in the evenings. And early in the mornings. And you know, trying to manage that overstimulation will also manage biting.

Amy:

And even that evening nap I find some clients are very hesitant to give that evening nap around seven, eight, you know, 830 No, let that puppy sleep. They'll get back up in an hour. We can take them potty before bedtime, and they'll go back to sleep. So great advice. And last question. If you have a day off, and it's just you and your dogs, how would you spend it?

Barbara Cannon:

Well, that's an easy answer. I love going to the beach or going hiking, and dogs love it too. And you know, I spend a lot of time doing that when I have a dog.

Amy:

You live in a great place for that. Thanks, Barbara for joining me today on the podcast and for sharing with our listeners those great tips on socialization and to everybody. I hope you've taken something away from today's conversation that you can go and do a little bit better and help your dogs live the best life that they can you guys have a good week I'll talk to you later. If you have a question about anything you heard on this podcast or any other Puppy Training question, visit my site Baxter & bella.com to contact me