Why puppies are vital to renewing a dog packPuppies are great aren't they? They are the number one reason many people have to get dogs. So cute, so full of energy, so full of potential.
I have covered many times the critical 3-6 month socialisation window of dogs so I wont go over that much here. And we have covered off the cuteness element so what else is there to know about puppies and what do they have to do with a dog pack?
Well if you have a puppy and you know that the critical time for socialisation is 3-5 months, and if that puppy can walk the distance without damaging itself, then its often a good idea to have a dog join a dog pack of social dogs.
Puppy benefit for waling in a dog packNumber one is socialisation. After separation from the mum its critical for a dog to get to keep good behaviour with random social dogs it meets and also know how to deal with the non social ones.
The puppy will grow stronger practice recall, get mentally stimulated, sleep better, be less bored and help the owners breeze over what many people find a very difficult time - dealing with a puppy's naughtiness and energy level
What many people don't think about is the affect that a puppy has on the dog park.
Positive Affect of puppies on an off lead dog packIf you consider that most dogs tolerate a puppies unruliness (if the dogs are social) much more than they will an adult dogs attempts at engaging in play. Dogs are programmed that way, to give lenience and the benefit of the doubt.
But a dog pack that hasn't had a young dog join it for a long time can get very settled in routine. Each dog knows where it should be in pack status, each dog does its own thing. It either sniffs or doesn't sniff, it might roam a bit but keep site of the pack. The dogs have recall the dogs know routine and what part of the park has what feature including drinking fountains.
Bring a puppy into the mix and you are inviting chaos, but you are also keeping that pack young. True, a large, dominant or slightly aggressive playing puppy won't be welcome by any pack, no matter how social the pack, but that is not the kinds of dogs we bring into our Dog Walkers Melbourne packs.
After a pack of adult dogs has been established for a while, it is quite rare for them to engage in play with each other. They don't risk scorn of having to put a lot of effort into restabilising their position, when they have much better things to do, like explore. When a puppy joins the pack it forces the dogs it engages with, and often the leader, to become teachers again. To let the dog know what is acceptable, and if necessary dominate that dog, socially and much more accurately than any dog trainer cold ever dream of doing. This is dog teaching dogs on the fly in the field - it doesn't get better than that.
The dog pack as a whole becomes the teacher of the puppy. What to sniff, what kind of dogs approaching the pack to avoid. When to walk in unison as a pack, and when to slow it down and stop for a sniff break - because its a simulated hunt after all.
Puppies can come into a pack anxious, settled or over confident. As long as they are not aggressive any level of energy is usually welcome - though extreme high energy dogs that target one or two other dogs are often put on lead until they work out that its not acceptable.
The puppy also puts a lot more work on the dog walker who usually must concentrate much of their attention on the puppy, making sure it stays with the pack and plays within reasonable bounds. The speed the puppy walks, its interest in bushes and many other things often change the tempo of the walk at least until it is established in the pack. This is all about the puppy quickly becoming a useful member off lead of the dog pack, serving their structure well and then having the freedom to grow into the best social dog that they can be !