It ‘s always great to catch up with friends, especially ones that I have met through the dog training world.
Going over to see a friend of the 4 legged variety, and share a coffee with his dad of the 2 legged variety, I was surprised to see a new adolescent dog in the house.
Because we’d met through dog training, I was surprised that they hadn’t been down to training and I hadn’t meet this little one before. I wondered where they had been with their new dog Sophie, had they been training?, what had they been doing? Too busy? Life got in the way? Nope, none of these.
When I asked, unfortunately their answer didn’t surprise me, as it can be a common theme. “I learnt so much at dog training school with my last dog, I don’t need to go out to training. I do it all at home. And look, she is a ripper”. I then watched my mate show me his new dogs little routine with sits, drops, a funky little recall and then to finish it off, shake hands.
Since I had been there, I had had a nice cuddle with his older male dog and you could see how calm, confident and relaxed he was. In watching his little female Sophie, she was super wary, wouldn’t approach me, seemed reluctant to even explore me while I was not paying any attention to her and more or less ignoring her. Even when I was sitting on the ground Sophie wouldn’t approach me.
We then went for a walk down to the shops where little Sophie was unsure about a lot of things where as the older male cruised past with little interest in anything apart from his dad. I couldn’t fault him. When I mentioned this to my friend, he said it was something that he had noticed. Sophie, whilst the same breed as her older brother, seemed totally different. I spoke to him about early socialisation, getting the pup out and about at a young age, teaching independence to the new dog and he thought that because he already had a great dog, the young one would learn from him.
This is something that we often see. Dogs will learn from each other, this is called mimicry. In saying that, dogs also need to be treated as individuals and socialised separately, trained separately, to give them independence and to help build resilience. Just because your older child went to school, doesn’t mean that the subsequent younger ones don’t need to. Aside from all the learning, there is also the social interactions that they need. This is the same for all our dogs.
Make sure that if you get a second dog, a third, or a fourth, that you give the new dog opportunities to learn and experience the world away from its four legged family. Teach the dog that being by itself is ok. There are times where you will be by yourself, the groomers or the vets for example and there’s nothing to fear with this. You don’t want to end up with a turd of a dog! As we know from previous blogs that we have written, early socialisation and habituation are CRITICAL in development for your pup. Make sure that your new pup gets correct socialisation and don’t rely on your other dogs to raise the new puppy, that is your job.