Why Does My Puppy Not Like Socializing?
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[PLEASE ALSO READ: How To Socialize Your Puppy ]
Every puppy is different when it comes to socializing. It is important to READ your dog’s body language and then proceed accordingly. In many instances, where the puppy isn’t acting the way you want them to, it is time to hire a professional to assist you. If you keep doing it on your own, you will make the puppy WORSE.
I was purchasing some dog supplies the other day (leashes, collars) to prepare for upcoming lessons. As I was paying the cashier, a couple entered the store with their newly adopted pit bull mix. I could see he was taking it all in, and understandably, unsure of what was going on. He stood there at the entry and didn’t want to walk any further. Behind them, another person entered the store with an older, adult Beagle. As soon as the puppy saw the other dog, he started smiling, wagging his tail, and tried to go see this other dog. The owner of the Beagle pulled back the leash on their dog and told them that her dog wasn’t very friendly with puppies and to not let them greet. The woman with the Beagle walked on by, and then the pit bull puppy was back to just standing there and not moving, unsure as to what to do.
I could tell this pup had never been on a leash before, so when they pulled on the leash, the puppy just further resisted moving. And because the dog hadn’t yet bonded to this couple, it wasn’t inclined to follow them or trust them. I could see the distressed look on their faces, not sure what to do. I couldn’t just stand there, being a dog trainer, and not say anything. I asked the cashier, “Does anyone have some treats?” Sure enough, they had a jar of them near the cash register. I took some of them, handed them to the owners, and told them to lure their dog along. It worked, the puppy sniffed the food, got a treat, and then they were able to lure him along.
That’s just one example of a thousand that a new puppy owner might encounter when taking their dog out in public. Bad experiences multiply into bad impressions, and can cause the adult dog to be wary of people, places or things.
Not all puppies are friendly and confident. Many are shy, and that needs to be worked out. I’ve even met aggressive puppies that will attack other dogs. What do you do in those cases? That’s not something that a typical dog owner is prepared to handle. What about the unruly puppy that nips and jumps (your pup needs a Puppy Manners lesson).
So, if you are socializing your puppy, and it doesn’t look like the puppy (or the people) are handling the situation well, then it is time to hire a professional for advice.