HAIRY POPPINS 

Pet Nanny, Dog Training

& Behaviour Centre for Medway

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HAIRY Blog

By HAIRY POPPINS, Jun 28 2020 02:25PM

There's nothing cuter than watching puppies run around together - chasing each other, rough & tumble and puppy bundles!


But we need to remember that not all puppies enjoy this type of interaction. They won't "just learn how to play" if all of their early experiences with other dogs are overwhelming them .... All that puppy is learning is that other dogs can be a bit scary & are to be avoided and if he can't escape / no one helps him then you'll leave him no choice but to deal with the situation himself.


So, what might your puppy do if he isn't enjoying the game?


Well, firstly, he'll likely try to avoid the situation. He may run away from the other dog (and this must not be confused with "oh, he loves being chased!") If your puppy is running for his life, too fearful to stop, whilst another dog chases after him then its unlikely that hes enjoying the experience .... Can he stop if he wants to? Does he run under a table / in to a corner? Does he run back to his human? Does he get a turn of being the chaser rather than always being the chase-ee?


Secondly, if avoidance doesn't work and the other dog just keeps on & on then you may leave your puppy no other choice but to put on his Boxing Gloves and fight back .... This is where the growly / snappy / biting puppy comes out .... He didn't want to snap .... He tried moving away ..... But, no one listened ..... The other puppy didn't listen (because he's only a puppy himself & is still learning and his human didn't listen because he stood there laughing saying "Well, I'm socialising him, hes got to learn")


If you are ever in any doubt then use "The Consent Test"


Hold on to the puppy doing all of the chasing for a few seconds.

What happens? Does the other puppy move away, wiping his brow, breathing a sigh of relief that he can finally escape this "game" or, does he come back in for more, trying to start the game over again?

This will give you a good indication as to whether your puppy was actually enjoying the game or not.


How about if you own the super confident puppy that always bundles straight in there, bouncing around with the others, climbing on their backs, play-biting on other dogs ears & tails?

What is this puppy actually learning?

How to be a well mannered, social, adult dog that "loves to say hi & loves to play"? Or, is he actually picking up some inappropriate social skills? Is he learning that playing roughly is rewarded (because no one is stopping him so the "reward" is that he can continue to play like this)

Do you really want your fully grown, adult dog to believe that its OK to run up to other dogs and bundle them? He may do that to the wrong dog one day!

Of course, we love our puppies to play and have fun but always be prepared to step in and stop the game if your puppy is becoming too rough .... Its not up to the other dogs to train your dog. Its your job!


Matching puppies up to suitable play mates is really important, too. We all have different personalities & different social requirements.

Some people (or puppies!) will love busy events, meeting up with lots of friends regularly, going out in crowds etc. And some people (& puppies) will much prefer meeting up with just one or two friends for a chat and going to a quieter events .... I much prefer meeting up with just one or two friends for a coffee rather than going out with a crowd to a busy Club. Just because you force me to go to a Club every single day doesn't mean I'm going to ever learn to enjoy it - its not me!


So, find suitable play mates for your puppy.

If your puppy is quieter, nervous or doesn't like to play too much then matching him up with other calmer puppies or older dogs will be so much better for him and will really help his confidence to grow without ever having to feel scared or overwhelmed ..... Isn't that a far nicer way to socialise your puppy??


Puppies brains are like sponges at this age. They absorb so much information and they are learning all the time. Be sure your puppy is learning what you want him to:


*Its OK not to be friends with everyone you meet.

*Its OK not to enjoy being chased / playing roughly.

*Its OK to enjoy smaller, calmer, social interactions.

*Its NOT OK to "bully" or play too roughly with other dogs.


By HAIRY POPPINS, Jun 7 2020 12:31PM

When I'm walking around the Supermarket and someone says "Hi" or "Good morning" to me I will respond with the same politeness that was shown to me. I will probably say "Hi" back and give a smile. We may or may not engage in a brief conversation about the weather or whatever but either way, the interaction will be friendly, courteous & polite before we each go our own separate ways.


If, as I was walking around the Supermarket someone climbed into my trolley, started jumping up & down in my face & biting my ears screaming "Hey!! Hiiii, How are you!!" whilst climbing onto my back I would likely be very annoyed. I would probably tell you to leave me alone. I might even shout at you and if you didn't listen and kept on & on I would probably really lose my temper and may even snap / push you away ….. I'd probably try to walk away and give myself some distance from you but if you kept on following me, eventually, I may even feel like I need to lash out at you or even hit you ……


Would that be MY fault??


If I lost my temper in that situation that would be quite reasonable, right??

Imagine, if the person jumping up & down in my trolley / biting my ears / screaming in my face had another human with them saying "Its OK, he's friendly, he just likes to say hi & play with everyone he meets in Tesco" or "He's OK, he's only young and he's just learning how to socialise"

Well …. Is it MY job to teach this clown how to say "Hi" appropriately?? Should I just stand there and take it?? Would YOU just stand there & take it?!!


NO!! Its not my job!! But if you are just standing there, laughing, thinking this is how you teach someone to have good manners and you don't help to move this idiot away from me then I'm going to have to deal with the situation myself …….


I can almost see the horrific facebook post you will write later that evening:

My poor friend!! He's always been so friendly. He loves going up to people in Tesco to say hello and today, this woman screamed at him & shoved him to the floor. We had to take him to the Doctor because he has a black eye & a cut on his leg ….. Beware, if ever you see this lady in Tesco, do not approach. She is not friendly …..


And then I can see all of the replies to this post from your friends & family and from strangers who have shared your post:

*Oh my God, that's awful!! Why wasn't that woman in a Straight Jacket??!!

*Oh, your poor friend, I hope he recovers from this. I hope you report that lady for what she's done. She shouldn't be allowed out without a Straight Jacket on!!

*That woman needs putting to sleep before she does it to another human or worse still, a child!!

*I blame the womans parents - it must be the way she was brought up. If they're raised right they don't behave like that …. .


And then a year later I can see the post that you'll write:

My friend was attacked last year by an out of control woman in Tesco and now he's afraid of every woman he meets. He screams & shouts at every single woman he meets and if any ladies get too close to him he really snaps at them. Its such a shame, he used to be so friendly and he loved saying hi to everyone but since this attack last year he has really changed. All because of that aggressive woman in Tesco ….. Now, I need to get some help for my friend. Can anyone recommend a good Psychiatrist??


If you want to train your puppy how to be well socialised & friendly and how to behave in public / how to interact with others then make sure YOU teach your puppy. It is not the responsibility of other dogs to train your dog for you - that could go very drastically wrong and it really wouldn't be the other dogs fault.


So - what can you do?

Step in ….. Help your puppy out. If he is becoming annoying & not leaving another dog alone then its time for you to step in. Playtime is good and we don't want to ruin all of the fun but we need to remember that puppies need to learn.

What is the other dog doing? Is he trying to move away? Is he turning his head away? What body language do you see? Is the other dog engaging in the play equally or is it one-sided with the puppy keeping on & on & on …??

It may be time to pop puppy back on the lead for a few minutes or to leave the Park for now. We don't want puppy to "learn" how to be annoying.

Yes, of course - let your puppy play but make sure that the play mate is a suitable match & be sure that the other dog is enjoying the game ….. Otherwise its not fun ….. And if its not fun then we all, quite rightly, loose our tempers …..


SIDE NOTE:

Sometimes, even if you are being super polite & super friendly, there are times, when I just do not want to say "Hi" to you in Tesco …. I may be feeling poorly, I may be in a bad mood, I may be in a rush ….. Whatever the reason, its perfectly OK for me to just turn around & walk in the other direction even if you were just going to smile and say "Good morning" politely …… If you see other dog owners moving their dog away from your puppy then that's fine, too. They probably have their reasons and anyway, its good for puppies to learn that not every dog they see needs to be greeted :-)


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