terça-feira, 28 de fevereiro de 2012

Puppies playing with adult dogs

(Versão portuguesa abaixo)

It is very important that, during their growth, puppies get used to dealing both with people and with dogs other than their mother. That’s the way they learn their species’ behavioural codes, that they learn to relate and communicate with other dogs. If they are denied these experiences, when they are older they may experience difficulties in dealing with other dogs they meet along their lives. This may eventually lead to aggression due to communication problems.

You can read here an article I wrote for the “Cães e Companhia” magazine about the behavioural development of dogs from birth to adulthood. Unfortunately for some of you, I only have a Portuguese version of it. I hope to translate it in the near future.

At home, our puppies are first introduced to other dogs of their breed/morphological type. At first they only interact with the adults on a one-on-one basis. Afterwards, as I assess the behaviour of the puppies and the adults, they can play with an increasingly larger number of dogs. In this video, 7 week-old puppies play with most of our adult Dachshunds and Drevers. Of course, this only happened after several weeks spent introducing the puppies to the adults.

After the puppies are comfortable with dogs of their type and size, I begin to introduce them to dogs of different size and behaviour.
On this video, the puppies are getting to know some of our Barbados da Terceira (Terceira Cattle Dogs).
One of the advantages of having dogs of different breeds, with distinct physical and behavioural traits, is that our puppies learn from a young age to interact with different types of dogs, learning the differences in behaviour and communication associated to different morphologies and functions.

IMPORTANT: I do not recommend anyone to place many adult dogs and puppies together. Only consider doing it if you have in-depth knowledge of each dog’s behaviour, both with puppies and with other dogs, and have excellent knowledge of canine behaviour and body language (so you can detect any potential problem before it escalates). Naturally, even so you should only do it if you can properly supervise the dogs. Playing can easily lead to an increase of arousal, so the dogs may unwillingly harm a puppy. Even the puppies’ natural awkward behaviour, different from that of the adults, may trigger predatory behaviour which, along with pack behaviour due to having several dogs together, may lead to serious injury to a puppy if there is not strict supervision by an experienced person!

What about you, what do you do to make sure your dogs goes along with everyone he meets on the street?

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