You’re lucky. You have a fabulous dog park in your community. But so far, you’ve hesitated to turn your beloved buddy loose with the pack of rowdy canines you’ve seen playing there. Or maybe your dog is so unruly that you’ve worried about your ability to get him back on leash once he’s been emancipated. Here are some tips to help you decide whether you two are ready to lose the leash at the park.
So you want to adopt an older dog. Rescue a homeless hound. Save a life. Fantastic! Gone are the days when everyone wants to start out with a baby puppy – and that’s a good thing. In the last decade, as pet owners have become more responsible about spaying and neutering, shelters across the country have noticed a marked decrease in the numbers of puppies they receive. Instead, they now find that the preponderance of homeless dogs in their kennels are adolescents – six months to two years old – who haven’t received the training and direction they needed to become good canine citizens.
People fear Rottweilers for a variety of reasons, and only a few of those reasons are due to the media. Some Rottie owners deliberately foster the intimidating look, fastening huge Gothic collars on their dogs and encouraging their dogs to be aggressive. Many Rottweilers are used for guard and protection work, a task they were bred for and excel at. And, face it, whether you want to blame nature or nurture (poor breeding or wrong-headed training), there are a certain number of aggressive, unpredictable, dangerous Rottweilers in the world.
Dogs aren’t born full-fledged “man’s best friends.” As with all baby animals, there is a period of time in their lives when they must learn about the world in order to survive. This critical period is a window of opportunity for socialization – a time when puppies learn what is safe and good and what is not. Opinions differ as to how long the window is open, but it falls somewhere in the period between four and 20 weeks. After the window closes, anything not previously identified as safe will automatically fall into the unsafe category. Dogs must be socialized to the human world during this time, or they will forever be fearful of – or, at the very least, anxious about – new people, sights and sounds.