The Social Pet Project!




“Two Paws Up Tuesday”

According to veterinary behaviorists, for the first three years, your dog is more likely to die from a behavior problem than from disease. Fortunately, it’s avoidable by socializing your puppy as soon as possible.

What Is Socialization? Socialization is introducing a dog to new people, dogs and other animals, situations, and things.

Most important is that he accept people without fear. Introduce puppies to tall people, short people, ones with beards, others with hats, those with high voices and low voices, as well as people who move fast and those who go slow, like some in wheelchairs. The list of things to socialize a pup or dog to is even longer. Consider umbrellas, bikes, cars, vacuums, and sudden sounds, like recordings of thunder and fireworks.

What Is The Best Age To Do It? From 8-12 weeks of age puppies go through a fear-imprinting stage. During this time, it is crucial to introduce puppies to different stimuli every day and ensure those experiences are positive.

For example, the first time a puppy sees a car, it could be a nice experience or a scary one. A nice experience may be feeding your puppy treats next to a stationary car, and later on, taking him for a slow ride while he’s settled and secure on the seat. A scary event would be standing on a sidewalk with your puppy as a loud car goes by at highway speed. You can control this situation and help your puppy learn not to fear cars with proper planning. But be careful, you don’t want to create a situation where your pup wants to chase cars either. This will cause other behaviors that will need immediate correction.

His reaction in these early situations determines how he reacts in the future. If he’s taught to be fearful of the first new things he sees, he may adopt that mindset rather than being comfortable when encountering new things.

For older dogs with fear responses, it’s possible to change their reactions to positive responses, but it will take more time for them to learn to avoid unproductive and inappropriate responses. That’s why in the case of socialization, earlier is better!

Why Are Puppy Classes So Beneficial For Socialization? During class, puppies get to have playtime with other puppies in a controlled situation. They learn how to interact rather than being a shut-in pup whose body language gets him into trouble with other dogs.

It’s also a great time for them to get to know other puppy owners. Every pup should meet as many people as possible, we recommend at least 100 different people, before he reaches 16 weeks of age. We want them to enjoy the interaction and look forward to meeting new people.

My Little Puppy Is Scared Of Big Dogs, Should I Go To A Little-Dog Class? No!!!! We see many little dogs who are aggressive to or scared of big dogs because they haven’t been socialized correctly. If we allow a pup’s fears to stay rooted, he isn’t going to learn to overcome them. Get your dog into a training class and don’t hold back on introducing him to dogs of all sizes. That said, be sensible. Do it with a trainer who can recognize if there is an issue and can separate them if needed. Always supervise your dog’s play sessions, no matter how big or small the other dogs are.

Does Socialization Finish Once Puppyhood Is Over? Of course not. During puppyhood, you lay the foundation. Don’t let it crumble because you fail to reinforce it. Owners diligently go to a class for eight weeks and then stop. By the time the dog is three years old, you can see that his training has lapsed because he has some fear responses. It may be only to men with beards, but something small like that is how it starts. Keep the program going throughout a dog’s life!

Information courtesy of the: American Kennel Club Use this link to find all your dog training needs. Barking, jumping on guests, car chasing, nipping, biting, shy, fearful, or reactive?? These are just a few of the behaviors we can help with. Not only immediate help, but also continued support from professional trainers with extensive experience.

Training Tip: Get the entire family involved in the socialization process by making a list of 10 new people or things your dog will meet that day and repeat the process making each day a new adventure for both you and your pup!!!


10 Things to Teach Your Puppy….It’s like Pre-K for Canines!




“Two Paws Up Tuesday”

The to-do list associated with getting a new puppy may seem overwhelming. To make it more manageable, we’ve compiled the most important training items to teach your new four-legged family member.

  1. To Know And Love His Name. What’s in a name? Well, nothing if your puppy doesn’t know it. Teach your puppy his name by saying it and immediately offering something fun and rewarding. Many times, puppies are used to hearing their name said in an angry tone, so they learn they better head for the hills when they hear it. Make sure to associate his name with positive experiences.
  2. To Come. You can start preparing your puppy for this command even before you start training. Teach him that coming over to you means lots of fun, whether in the form of tug games, food rewards, meals, or belly rubs. You’ll be building a balance in the “come when called” relationship bank so that when the inevitable time comes when there is an emergency and you need your puppy to come to you, he will.
  3. To Let You Grab His Collar. Many puppies have a “fight or flight” fear response when someone reaches for or grabs their collars. Your job is to create a puppy who has an expectation of an awesome reward when his collar is grabbed. Do this by practicing looping a finger through his collar and following it with a high-value treat or a game of tug. You also want to play this game clipping and unclipping a leash. This will teach them whether you are clipping or unclipping their leash they should stay with you and not make a run for it.
  4. Desensitize. Some puppies are easily scared or skeptical, especially during the fear period that usually occurs between 4 and 6 months of age. The best thing to do is to pair potentially scary experiences with something rewarding. But do this carefully. For instance, if your puppy were afraid of the vacuum cleaner offer a treat when you bring it out, then turn it on and offer another treat and immediately turn it off again offering yet another treat. Repeat this process several times and gradually increase the time you keep the vacuum cleaner on.  Never force your puppy into a scary situation or punish him for anxiety.
  5. That Nothing Is Free. Teach your puppy that he can have his meals, treats, toys, and playtime by earning them through playing training games with you. It’ll move training forward and strengthen the relationship with your pup. Also, dogs are contra freeloaders, which means that they derive greater joy and value from working for things they love, rather than getting them for free. Ditch the food bowl and instead spend 10-15 minutes getting your puppy to work for his meal by practicing basic commands. As rewards, offer him kibble or spoonfuls of canned or homemade diets.
  6. To Love The Crate. Your puppy will need to nap often. You can help him understand that his crate is the perfect siesta spot and a fun place to hang out by reserving certain treats and toys for him to get only while in the crate. And instead of crating your puppy only when you go to bed or leave the house, put him in there for small amounts of time when you’re home, too.
  7. To Trust People. Teach your puppy that good people bring good things. Whenever someone is coming over to the house have your guest bring the dog an extra special high value treat. If your dog is in training your guest should have the dog sit. If not, calm behavior earns the treat. It’s an effective way to create an optimistic dog who trusts strangers and knows to work for treats. CAUTION: When doing this make sure your dog will only take the treat with your permission. The reason for this is you don’t want your dog to take everything from anyone. For example, if a child wants to give your dog food it could be something harmful, dangerous, or even worse, deadly.  This, of course, would be unintentional by the child because they may not know that the food they just gave Fido was toxic if ingested.
  8. That You’re His Best Bud. My dogs love other dogs, but they love me more!!! That’s because I taught them to find me more rewarding than most anything else. Work on that skill while allowing your dog to socialize. You’ll know you’ve succeeded when he can come when called even if he’s in the middle of interacting with other dogs.
  9. “Go To Place” or “Hotspot”. Prevent jumping on guests and door dashing all with one command. Early on in training, pair the sound of a doorbell to a reward for when your pup retreats to a mat or bed. By teaching this, you require a strong “go to place” or “hotspot” behavior, all cued up by the sound of the doorbell.
  10. To Learn Self Control. Learning how to go from excited to calm on your command is an invaluable skill for a puppy. A great way to teach this is through playing tug. If you’ve not properly taken the time to teach this game, I would do it today. You won’t regret it, and everything else you teach will become stronger and more functional because of this game. Also, you’ll never again have an issue asking your dog to sit when he’s excited because guests came to the house.

Information courtesy of the: American Kennel Club

Training tip: When teaching your puppy his name make a game of it by tossing a treat away from you and then use it’s name immediately when he reaches the treat and comes back to you. Always end all training sessions on a positive note! Use this link to register for special clubs, memberships, and special events. RUFF Academy Real Life Dog Training offers classes that range from Puppy Playhouse to Advanced Agility and more. We also offer continued support once you’ve completed any of the programs.

New specialty classes start this fall and winter to include Nose work, Brainiac, Parkour, and Treadmill classes. One of our newest programs is Board-N Train and it’s a big hit!!! Check us out on FaceBook and Instagram for videos and pictures of our various classes and programs.