Socializing for Life

Love Dog
In This Chapter
  • Identifying key developmental phases in your Boston’s life
  • Looking at strategies for socializing your pup
  • Interpreting canine body language
  • Calming your dog’s fears

Awell-socialized Boston delights all who cross her path. She plays well with other dogs. She welcomes new faces, smells, sights, and sounds instead of cowering in fear. She enjoys meeting people and exploring unknown territory. In essence, she fits well in any social situation.

A Boston who is protected from the world, however, learns to fear what she doesn’t know. Everything becomes frightening, and as a result, the dog will be timid and fearful, cowering from noises, sights, people, and other dogs. A fearful dog also may begin to bite out of fear, a habit that can be difficult to correct.

During the first year of your dog’s life — particularly the first four months — she experiences developmental milestones that will warrant your special attention, especially as they pertain to your pup’s personality and social behavior. In this chapter, I explore those key phases in your Boston’s development and how you can help her through them. I also include tips for introducing your puppy to different people and objects. Finally, I provide you with some guidance on how dogs communicate their feelings and how you can prevent fear in your Boston. Though each dog differs, you can use these pages as a guideline for what to expect as your pup grows into an adult.

Understanding Your Boston’s Developmental Timeline

Before delving into ways to socialize your Boston, you need to understand the developmental phases your dog will experience as she grows from puppyhood through adolescence and into adulthood. Each phase contains its own milestones, like bonding with humans or learning social hierarchies, and as a dog owner, you want to foster those behaviors so the pup grows to be a welladjusted adult.

Warning!

If you adopt a puppy from a disreputable pet store or backyard breeder, or if you adopt an adult from a rescue organization or shelter, your Boston may have missed some of these developmental milestones. Healthy development requires human and canine contact, and some of these puppies may not have received what they required to socialize properly. They’re not hopeless cases, but these puppies require extra-special care and nurturing.

A brand-new world: The first 6 weeks

There’s nothing like a brand-new puppy. Still wriggling and yearning for her mother, she’s completely dependent on her canine caretaker for nourishment and development. She’s also dependent on her littermates for social stimulation.
From about 3 to 6 weeks old, a puppy gets her social stimuli from other dogs, like her mother and siblings. She learns how to act around other dogs, begins to understand social hierarchies (who ranks higher than whom in the pack), and shows the first hints of personality.
Dogs at this age should not be away from their mothers. Because reputable breeders don’t adopt out dogs at this age, it’s unlikely that you’ll see this stage of your Boston’s development, though you may have some exposure to it when you visit the breeder to pick out your puppy.

Getting to know people: 5 to 12 weeks

When a puppy reaches 5 to 12 weeks of age, she turns her attention to people. She begins to look to her human caretakers for social stimuli and interaction. At this time in her life, positive human bonding is critical for proper socialization.
Most breeders will let you take your pup home at around 10 to 12 weeks old. While the young Boston lives with the breeder, her socialization with humans begins. The breeder will hold the puppy and invite friends and neighbors over to handle her. When you take her home, you’ll continue to do the same.

Warning!

Puppies experience their first fear phase when they’re around 8 weeks old. At this age, she has become very aware of the world around her, and sometimes it can be very scary. If she’s frightened by something at this age, it’s likely that she won’t get over it. Breeders know this, and they typically won’t adopt out a pup who has yet to experience this fear phase. 

During these second and third months of life, your Boston should meet people of both genders and as many ages, ethnicities, and backgrounds as possible. They should hold her, talk to her, coddle her, and interact with her so that later in life, she’s already familiar with those types of people. The key is to make all of these experiences as positive as possible.
A challenge will surface, however, when your veterinarian recommends that you not take the pup to pet stores, dog parks, or places where other dogs or strays have been until after she’s had all of her vaccinations (about 16 weeks old). So what do you do? Invite friends over for a cookout. Have an intimate get-together with neighbors. Think of ways to welcome as many individuals as possible to your home. Some trainers recommend that your pup meet 100 or more people during these first months of her life! You’ll have to get creative.

Remember

Though your puppy has already endured her first fear phase, ask your friends not to move too quickly or wear distracting items, like a big floppy hat or dark sunglasses, when they come to visit. Quick movements or colorful disguises can frighten a young Boston!

Interacting with her environment: 12 to 20 weeks

After getting used to all sorts of people, your pup will begin getting used to different surroundings. From 12 weeks to 20 weeks old, a puppy is the most receptive to learning how to handle new sights, sounds, and smells. This is the best time to begin to socialize her to different environments.

Tip

Puppy kindergarten offers an excellent opportunity to get your pup out of the house and into new environments. Often held at training centers, pet stores, and dog parks, puppy kindergarten introduces a dog to a new place, new people, and new dogs — a perfect social situation for a developing dog! See Chapter Training and Behavior for more information about the benefits of puppy kindergarten.

At 16 weeks old, some dogs experience another fear phase. As with her first fear phase (see the “Getting to know people: 5 to 12 weeks” section), if a dog is frightened by something, it’s likely that she’ll carry that fear with her for her entire life. Use caution when exposing your Boston to scary things at this age. I discuss handling fear in the “Preventing Fear” section later in this chapter. Just remember to stay upbeat, and avoid reinforcing the fear by coddling her when something scares her.

Warning!

Fourteen weeks marks an important milestone in a pup’s development: If she is kenneled and not handled before this period, she will develop some serious social problems, often acting out toward things she doesn’t understand. It’s absolutely critical that the dog is handled as much as possible during these first few months.

Approaching adulthood: 4 months to 3 years

After a puppy makes it through her first four months of life — her puppyhood — she enters her teenage years. She continues to explore her surroundings, sniffing things, tasting things, and getting to know the world around her. She also experiences three major milestones in her life:

Another fear period: As with the fear periods at 8 and 16 weeks old, some dogs may go through another one at 14 months old that’s not as critical as the first two. During this fear period, you may notice your pup being apprehensive toward things she already knows. Help her through this by encouraging her and reassuring her, revisiting some training techniques, if necessary.

Sexual maturity: This inevitable teenage experience occurs in both male and female dogs between 6 months and 1 year of age. Female dogs should be spayed before their first heat cycle, reducing their chances of developing reproductive system cancers and unwanted pregnancies. Male dogs should also be neutered around this same time. Doing so reduces unwanted behaviors such as aggression, urine marking, mounting, and wandering in search of a mate. (Chapter Your Visit to the Veterinarian has more specifics on spaying and neutering your Boston.)

Social maturity: From 1 year to 3 years old, a dog continues to mature socially. She’s still considered a puppy during this time, despite her adult appearance! She continues to develop her personality, she refines her behavior, and she experiences more new sights, sounds, people, and places as her world continues to expand.

Remember

Though the dog has passed her prime for growing accustomed to various environmental stimuli, you should still expose your Boston to as many social situations as possible. By the time she reaches her third birthday, she’s ready for just about anything.

Socializing Your Puppy

You know you need to introduce your pup to as many social situations as possible. So how do you do it? The process begins as soon as your puppy is born. When a Boston first enters the world, she begins to develop her senses of smell and taste. She learns to interact with her mother and littermates. Then she begins to explore the human world, bonding with people and expanding the world around her.
You can help her through these phases so she becomes a dog who adores — and depends upon — people. The key is to introduce your Boston to the world without frightening her. That means your tone of voice should be happy and upbeat. It takes some work and a lot of patience, but when your adorable puppy develops into a well-adjusted and demonstrative adult, all your efforts will be worth it.

Keeping her safe, yet social

After your puppy comes home, you’ll want to introduce her to as many people as possible. You’re a proud new puppy parent, after all, and you want to show her off! Exposure to people helps your dog learn who belongs to the pack and who doesn’t.

Trainers recommend that your pup meet and be handled by at least 100 people of all different ages, sizes, and ethnicities during the first few months of life! She should meet people who wear glasses or hats. She should also be exposed to people who use a wheelchair or cane. She should meet the children down the street, the teenagers next door, and the retired seniors across the way. The more variety she experiences, the better.

Your veterinarian will probably tell you not to take your dog out until she has been fully vaccinated. That’s easier said than done! You know you need to expose her to a variety of people, but you also want to keep her healthy.

Tip

Here are some ways to both keep her safe and allow her to meet a variety of people. Start slowly; stick to your house the first week or two and expand from there.

Take her with you wherever you go. Dress her in a fancy pup-size collar with an ID tag, attach a matching leash, put her in colorful carrier, and let her shadow you as you go to the market, the coffee shop, or a friend’s house.

Expose her to as many different people as possible. Let her meet your neighbors, the postal carrier, and the pet store cashier. Wherever you go, you and your adorable Boston will create a stir. Let people pet and fawn over your pup. The more people she meets, the better she’ll adjust.

Invite friends and relatives to your house and ask each person to hold your pup. By meeting people on her own turf, your Boston develops confidence as well as social skills. And as each person handles your Boston, she gets used to being touched by different humans — all with different smells and appearances.

Host play dates with other dog owners and their dogs who have already had their vaccinations. If you know that they’re up to date on their shots, you can have other dogs over to meet your puppy. Always supervise them, of course, especially if the dogs are older or larger than your pup.

Avoid places where strange dogs have been. Let your Boston explore as much as she can, but steer clear of areas with potentially parasite-ridden animal feces, like public parks, beaches, or unfamiliar neighborhoods.

Introducing children — slowly

Puppies and children — responsible children, that is — go together like cookies and milk. When the two pair up, they often develop an uncanny bond, much to the chagrin of adults! They’ll play together, the dog will obey the child’s commands, and the two will become inseparable (and mischievous!) in no time at all.

The key to a successful child-pup relationship, however, is the child’s maturity level. A child who is too young may play too rough with a puppy, or a child who is too immature or inexperienced with dogs may become frightened by a pup’s playful postures. Without parental supervision and ground rules, the experience can be a negative one for both the dog and the child.

Remember

Before you let any child play with your Boston puppy, first determine how comfortable the child is with dogs. If he’s your child, you’ll know his comfort level. If he’s your child’s friend or a neighbor, ask his parents how much experience he has had with puppies. If they give you a green light, let them play together — always supervised, of course.

Tip

You can set up some ground rules to make playtime a positive one for everyone. Here are some suggestions:

Sniff first, play later. Ask the child to approach the pup slowly and offer an outstretched hand for her to smell. If your Boston sniffs and wags her little tail, the child can pet and play with her.

Move slowly. Don’t allow children to run or move erratically around the puppy. Doing so can be frightening or overwhelming, or the pup may accidentally be trampled. Instead, require deliberate, cautious movements, especially when the pup is very young.

Use an inside voice. Don’t let kids scream or yell while playing with the puppy. Again, this can be overstimulating or scary to a young dog.

Give the puppy some space. Though a Boston pup may look like an adorable stuffed animal, don’t let kids grab the pup and hug her. Instead, allow the child to pet the puppy while she’s on the ground, in her bed, or in an adult’s lap. Watch the dog’s body language. If she looks frightened, ask the child to back off a little.

No wrestling! Part of that child-dog bond includes wrestling and playing with the pup. Some physical play is fine, but don’t let kids throw themselves on the puppy. Not only can that endanger the dog, but it can also endanger the child if the pup gets scared and nips at him.

Limit face time. Don’t allow kids to grab your Boston’s face, put their face to hers, blow in her face, or stare at her. Those are all intimidating postures that can lead to nipping and biting later on. Let the kids pet the pup’s head, neck, back, and belly, but keep her face off-limits.

Remember

After the puppy has grown, you can relax some of these house rules. You’ll know instinctively when it’s okay for your child to play more exuberantly with your Boston. Use common sense and good judgment, always supervising the new best friends. parental supervision and ground rules, the experience can be a negative one for both the dog and the child.

Remember

Before you let any child play with your Boston puppy, first determine how comfortable the child is with dogs. If he’s your child, you’ll know his comfort level. If he’s your child’s friend or a neighbor, ask his parents how much experience he has had with puppies. If they give you a green light, let them play together — always supervised, of course.

Tip

You can set up some ground rules to make playtime a positive one for everyone. Here are some suggestions:

Sniff first, play later. Ask the child to approach the pup slowly and offer an outstretched hand for her to smell. If your Boston sniffs and wags her little tail, the child can pet and play with her.

Move slowly. Don’t allow children to run or move erratically around the puppy. Doing so can be frightening or overwhelming, or the pup may accidentally be trampled. Instead, require deliberate, cautious movements, especially when the pup is very young.

Use an inside voice. Don’t let kids scream or yell while playing with the puppy. Again, this can be overstimulating or scary to a young dog.

Give the puppy some space. Though a Boston pup may look like an adorable stuffed animal, don’t let kids grab the pup and hug her. Instead, allow the child to pet the puppy while she’s on the ground, in her bed, or in an adult’s lap. Watch the dog’s body language. If she looks frightened, ask the child to back off a little.

No wrestling! Part of that child-dog bond includes wrestling and playing with the pup. Some physical play is fine, but don’t let kids throw themselves on the puppy. Not only can that endanger the dog, but it can also endanger the child if the pup gets scared and nips at him.

Limit face time. Don’t allow kids to grab your Boston’s face, put their face to hers, blow in her face, or stare at her. Those are all intimidating postures that can lead to nipping and biting later on. Let the kids pet the pup’s head, neck, back, and belly, but keep her face off-limits.

Remember

After the puppy has grown, you can relax some of these house rules. You’ll know instinctively when it’s okay for your child to play more exuberantly with your Boston. Use common sense and good judgment, always supervising the new best friends.

Interacting with four-legged friends

Dogs bond with other dogs when they’re first born. Right out of the womb, they learn to share — or battle for — their mother’s milk. When playing and wrestling, they learn how rough is too rough. Natural leaders and followers emerge. They develop the canine social skills required to live and interact in a dog pack.
When a puppy leaves the litter and moves into her new home, she’ll use her learned pack behavior to interact with her new family — which may contain dogs, cats, hamsters, reptiles, or even a goat. Similarly, when a puppy comes across new four-legged friends at dog parks or puppy kindergarten, she uses those same learned behaviors to meet and greet her new friends.
Just as your dog needs to be exposed to different types of adults and children, your dog should also be exposed to other animals and learn how to interact with them appropriately. Below, I’ve listed some strategies to make those introductions a little easier.

At home

Whether you have a tank full of bearded dragons, a pair of finicky felines, or a cow and a couple of goats, you need to introduce your Boston puppy to each one. Flip to Chapter Welcome Home! for more tips on introductions, but here are some things to keep in mind:

Talk to your veterinarian. Because your vet likely cares for the other critters in your menagerie, ask him if there are any dangers to watch for, especially when your puppy is young. A grumpy 12-year-old cat may bear his claws and take a swipe at the new pup. Reptile feces can contain salmonella. Give your vet a call, just to be safe.

Introduce them slowly. For most animals, you can create a safe environment in your kitchen or living room. Place your Boston in her carrier or kennel and allow the other animal to sniff and inspect the new puppy. After the two learn to recognize each other, give them more freedom. But don’t rush the introductions. You’ll have plenty of time!

Always supervise. Keep an eye on your pets, especially in the beginning when they’re getting to know each other. Cats may be territorial, while other dogs may play too rough.

Guard smaller pets. Keep pets such as reptiles and small mammals caged or in your care. Those little critters may look like prey to your puppy! Rather than risk losing a hamster or gecko, keep them locked up and safe, just in case.

Out and about

A few weeks after you bring your puppy home, when she’s 14 weeks old or so, you’ll begin to expose her to new environments. She’ll see new sights, smell new smells, and meet new people. She’ll also come across other dogs. Make it a positive experience by taking the following actions:

Verify vaccinations. If you meet a fellow dog owner walking his dog, for example, ask whether the other dog is up to date on his vaccinations. Most responsible dog owners will be current with their pup’s inoculations, and they won’t be offended if you ask.

Encourage encounters with friendly dogs. When a familiar dog approaches your Boston and you know that he is current on his shots, let them sniff each other and get to know one another. Dog parks, puppy kindergarten and other organized socialization classes, and planned play dates are great opportunities for dog-dog bonding and socializing.

Be wary of unknown dogs. They may harbor disease or be aggressive, so steer clear of strange animals, especially those that aren’t leashed. If you see one in the distance, turn around and walk away.

Stay away from animal feces. Parasites and diseases hide in animal excrement (see Chapter Your Visit to the Veterinarian for details), so keep your Boston far from dog, cat, and other animal feces. She’ll likely want to investigate little piles left behind, but pull her away and redirect her.

Get involved in dog social activities. Puppy kindergarten offers a safe place for your Boston to meet other dogs and interact with other humans. Dog owners must show proof of their dog’s vaccinations before they can register, so you can be assured that your pup won’t be exposed to any disease. And you’ll meet other dog owners with pups the same age as yours, so you can talk about your pup-raising experiences — the good and bad!

Socializing Your Adult Dog

If you raise your Boston from puppyhood and socialize her properly, she already knows how to act around other animals, dogs, and humans, and she’s been exposed to a variety of environmental situations. Essentially, her brain has been programmed for how to properly behave in many different scenarios.

But what if you adopt an older dog who hasn’t been socialized? Is all hope lost? Not necessarily. It will take a lot of patience and training, but she can be socialized.
Here are some ways to teach your older dog new socialization tricks:

Enroll in a dog obedience class. Besides learning how to obey your commands, your Boston will meet many different people and dogs, and be exposed to a new environment. By introducing her to so many new things at once, you’ll kickstart her socialization process.

Progress to agility or other competitive sport. As soon as your dog learns some basic obedience and social skills, try her paw (or your hand) at agility or tracking (jump to Chapter Taking Training to the Next Level to learn more about these sports). These are challenging and energy-expending competitions that give your dog the opportunity to interact with many different people, dogs, and situations.

Introduce her to new environments. As you would with a puppy, take your adult Boston with you wherever you go. Let her meet your friends and neighbors. Ask your child to invite his friends over to meet your dog. Go to a dog park. Do everything you can to expose your Boston to as many situations as possible.

Reward her for a job well done. Positive reinforcement, or rewarding your dog for good behavior, teaches your Boston that she’ll be praised when she greets new people with a lick and a wag, or meets new dogs with a friendly sniff and play bow (see more about this posture in the “Reading Your Boston’s Body Language” section).

Keep working at it. Dogs who have not been socialized as puppies require continuous training about how to behave among other dogs and humans. Luckily, Bostons are intelligent, and a little reminding goes a long way.

Reading Your Boston’s Body Language

Dogs don’t use words to communicate with humans, but they do use postures and body language to convey their mood. Canine body postures refer to the way a dog positions her body when she comes into contact with another dog or animal (including humans). It signals to the other animal whether she is fearful, playful, submissive, or aggressive.

When you can identify these various postures, you can better understand your Boston’s behavior and mood, taking appropriate action when needed. If your dog displays an aggressive posture, for example, you can take hold of her leash, walk away calmly, and redirect her attention so she doesn’t attack. Likewise, if another dog strikes an aggressive posture, you and your dog can walk away to prevent problems. In the following sections, I list the most common postures and their telltale signs.

Neutral relaxed

When your Boston is neutral relaxed (see Figure 10-1), she’s simply hanging out, enjoying the day. Her head is erect, her ears are up, her tail is relaxed and wagging, her mouth is slightly open, and her weight is evenly distributed over all four of her feet.
Figure 10-1: A neutral relaxed posture means your Boston is content.

Greeting

Dogs who are saying hello to other dogs (shown in Figure 10-2) approach each other cautiously. The more dominant dog has her ears and tail up. The submissive dog has her ears back and her tail down, and her eyes are semi-closed.
The two sniff each other’s genital region. This may seem rather strange to humans, but to dogs, it’s completely natural. Dogs have scent glands on either side of their anus. These anal glands contain a scent that’s unique to each dog. When they greet each other, dogs sniff at these glands. Talk about getting up close and personal!
Figure 10-2: When dogs meet, they’ll slowly approach and sniff each other.

Play bow

When your Boston wants to play, you’ll know immediately when she strikes a play bow (see Figure 10-3). She lowers her front end, including her head and shoulders, and leaves her hips high. She happily wags her tail, her ears are up, her eyes are soft, she relaxes her mouth, and her tongue is out. This posture lets everyone know that she’s ready to have some fun.

Tip

If you want to play with your Boston, you can strike the same pose. Lift your hands high, and then bring them down in front of you, mimicking her bowing motion. Use an upbeat, positive voice, and get ready to toss the ball!

Figure 10-3: A play bow means one thing: Let’s play!

Arousal

A Boston who has been stimulated by something (shown in Figure 10-4) — whether it be a sound, a sight, or a smell — will hold the arousal posture. Her ears are up and forward, her eyes are wide open, her tail is up, and her weight is over her front legs. Her muzzle may appear tense, with her lips lifted to expose her teeth, and her hackles (the hairs on her neck and back that stand up) may be raised, especially if she’s responding to an unfamiliar stimulus.

If she’s responding to something pleasurable, however, like when her best dog friend comes to the door, she wags her tail loosely and relaxes her muzzle, and her hackles are down. She knows something fun is about to happen, and she’s ready for it.

Figure 10-4: An arousal pose means that something has piqued your Boston’s interest.

Defensive aggression

If a dog feels threatened, she strikes a defensive aggression posture (see Figure 10-5), warning the other dog (or animal) that she doesn’t want to be approached.
Her hackles may be up. Her tail is down and tensed, and her ears are back. Her weight falls over her rear legs. Her muzzle is tense, and she may snarl and expose her teeth. A Boston in this type of posture may attack or bite if the offending animal doesn’t back down.

Aggressive attack

A posture that no one likes to see, an aggressive attack pose (see Figure 10-6) means your Boston is in fight mode. It’s a threatening posture intended to frighten, chase away, or attack intruders. Poorly socialized or highly protective Bostons may take this pose when they feel their home is being invaded or their human is threatened.

When she’s in this posture, you see a raised tail and hackles. Her ears are erect, tilting forward, and her eyes seem to shoot darts at her adversary. She curls her lips, revealing her teeth. Her weight is on her front paws, and she’ll likely be charging and barking.
Figure 10-5: A threatened Boston will strike a defensive aggressive pose.
Figure 10-6: When a Boston takes the aggressive attack pose, she’s defending her territory, chasing away any threatening intruders.

Submission

The opposite of aggression, submission (shown in Figure 10-7) is when a dog acknowledges the dominant animal by surrendering. Behaviorists identify two types of submission:

Active submission: The dog tilts her head down, lowers her tail, cocks her ears back, and half-closes her eyes. She may raise her paw, and her mouth may be partly closed with her tongue tip darting in and out.

Passive submission: The dog lies on her back, exposing her belly. She’s essentially surrendering to the other animal. She cocks her ears back, turns her head away, and tucks her tail. This is the position your pup should take when you tell her to settle. (See Chapter Training and Behavior for more about training your pup.) 

Figure 10-7: Your Boston will strike a submissive pose when she acknowledges a dominant animal or person.

Preventing Fear

During your Boston’s 8th week, 16th week, and 14th month of life, she’ll go through fear periods when she’s more apt to view things around her as frightening. It’s important at this age that you try to prevent scary things from happening, but if your Boston does experience something scary, don’t reinforce that fear by coddling and comforting her. If you do, the puppy will remember that acting fearful yields a reward — your attention — and that fear response will stay with her.
Fear periods last anywhere from several weeks to several months, depending on the puppy’s temperament and ability to cope with frightening situations. If your Boston shows excessive fear or doesn’t seem to be coming out of a fear phase, talk to your veterinarian for advice.

Being proactive

Part of preventing fear is to expose your Boston to as many people and situations as possible. As I explain in the “Socializing Your Puppy” section earlier in this chapter, dogs need to meet people of different races, ethnicities, ages, and appearances. They should also experience a range of different activities and scenarios. By helping them become familiar with these things, they will be less likely to fear them later on.

Coping with fear

Boston puppies show they are in a fear period in many different ways. Some become cautious about everything, approaching objects and situations — even familiar ones — tentatively. Other pups are more selective, being bold about some things and timid with others.

Tip

When you think your puppy is in a fear phase, you can do several things to handle her fear:

Watch your tone of voice. When your Boston seems fearful of something, speak to her in a calm, matter-of-fact tone, or speak to her in a higher-pitched, fun tone. Tell her that it’s okay, that there’s nothing to fear. Resist the urge to use a soothing tone that she could mistake as sympathy. That only reinforces her fears.

Distract her. Another approach is to distract your Boston by turning her away from what scared her. When you redirect her attention, give her a treat or a toy, saying, “What’s this? Here’s your ball!” The key is to make her think about something else.

Investigate the fearful item. If the scary item is accessible, walk up to, touch it, and show her that it’s not as frightening as she thought. Approach the item and hold it, pat it, and tell her, “Look! It’s not scary.” If a cookie sheet falls to the floor, for example, walk up to it, pick it up, investigate it, and show it to your Boston. When she starts to approach and sniff it, praise her and tell her how brave she is.

Don’t force her. Sometimes your Boston may just want to hang back and look at the scary item. That’s okay. When she’s ready, then let her approach it on her own. If you force her, you may just make the fear that much worse.

Warning!

If your pup still is afraid or starts to show signs of aggression at things she fears, you may want to talk to your vet or enlist the help of a trainer who can help you through the phase.

by Wendy Bedwell-Wilson

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