Not A Positive Puppy Experience

Socialization gone awry

At a local restaurant where dogs are welcome, I saw a sad sight that is like countless others I’ve observed over the years. In the long line to order was a family with a young puppy, probably no more than 10 weeks old, and right behind her was an adolescent dog who was clearly uncomfortable around other dogs. At first, the adolescent was holding it together. Though he was showing signs of stress such as panting, tongue-flicking and sweaty paws, he was not exploding. He and the puppy sniffed each other and their guardians looked on, quite pleased.

Then, some people with another dog crowded the adolescent, who was unable to handle the social pressure. He barked and lunged at the other dogs nearby, including the puppy. The puppy responded beautifully to this behavior by lying down on the floor and lowering her head. When the adolescent continued to bark and lunge at her, she looked distressed for the first time, and rolled over on her back, wide-eyed and clearly afraid.


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