I’ve got news! Many of y’all know that I updated and released a revised Kindle edition of Complete Care for Your Aging Dog this past fall. Well—now it’s also released in paperback! I know many folks prefer to have reference books in a physical book so I’m pleased that it’s now available in virtually every Ebook version and print once again—you get the advance notice and can read about it here at the publisher. I hope those who choose to check it out will also do me the honor of reviewing the book, once it’s “live” on amazon, probably in a week or so.
PUPPIES! While I adore the golden oldie dogs, I love puppies—who doesn’t? That’s a picture of my Magical-dawg when he was just a lil’ guy. Awwwww. Hard to imagine he’d grow into the bruiser-size German shepherd roughneck I know today. This coming Saturday, I get to go play with puppies! I’m thrilled to help out Magic’s breeder with temperament tests of her latest litter. Temperament tests attempt to reveal certain behavior predispositions so the puppies can be placed in the most appropriate home. For instance, a puppy crazy for fetching (like Magic!) may be better suited to a home able to provide for his energy needs. Or a puppy frightened of loud noises might do better in a home with a retired couple rather than a household filled with children. This is especially important when a puppy may be destined to be a service dog, or work with the police, for example.
There are several recommended “temperament tests” that dog-savvy people use, and the type may vary with the breed—we’ll be using a popular one for working dogs. And frankly, experts can’t agree how well they work because the result depends so much on interpretation of those giving the test. The results are only as good as thoe folks giving the tests. Also, puppies change so quickly that a test given a few days later might render very different results. But from my perspective—I get to play with puppies on Saturday! Yay!
No matter what the test results indicate, all bets are off without good socialization. When we got Magic, I had a to-do list of all the people, places and things to expose him to and prepare him for a happy, well-adjusted life. He road in the car. He sniffed the lawn mower. He walked on grass, gravel, pavement, carpet, and wood. He went on TV, hung out backstage at the local theater, and charmed the dry cleaner attendants. He met other dogs. Magic—like all pups—needed happy experiences with all kinds of things so they would be acceptable and not scary later on.
To be good pets, all puppies require early-age “socialization.” That’s a fancy way of describing how they learn to interact with the world around them.
Dogs can be trained at any age, and continue to learn throughout their lives. But the prime socialization period is a narrow window during babyhood when learning the “wrong” lessons can emotionally cripple the pet. Puppies not exposed to positive experiences with humans during this period have trouble associating with people. You can read the rest of the article here—and it also includes video of a previous year’s puppy temperament test (cute alert!). Enjoy!
Woofs & Wags,