Meatman (dpa/tmn) – Judith Bunke has been professionally working with dogs for over 20 years. But one thing always worries her: When young and old have dog encounters and an older dog owner says, “No problem – your puppy is protected!”
A dog behavioral therapist can’t help but shake her head at that. “It’s a very dangerous box,” she says. “I don’t know why it hasn’t reached everyone yet, but there is no puppy protection!” Not with puppies up to twelve weeks and certainly not with puppies four to six months old.
Tolerance limit max in their own packaging
Dog trainer André Vogt (“The Puppy Trainer” on Sixx) also wants to clear up the often-cited myth about innate puppy protection. Talk about the idea that little ones are free to mess with their adult friends. And that they themselves generously tolerate disrespectful behaviour. “Be careful,” Vogt says. “Please don’t count on your puppy surviving or not getting injured – this could end badly!”
Because puppies will only be able to have a higher tolerance in their own pack or with dogs that are used to siblings. However, panic is misplaced when encountering strange dogs.
“Most of our dogs are gentle dogs, well socialized, and they are also very keen to handle puppies,” Bunke says. Even with animals, the cuteness factor works: “In all species, they view offspring as harmless and deserving of protection. Even outside of their family, which is probably the result of domestication.”
Even adult dogs can hate puppies
But you should not rely on it. “There are also dogs who simply hate puppies,” Bunke says. “Just as there are people who don’t like children.” As a puppy owner, you will usually have a good idea if there is a problem. “Of course, not every adult dog hates little ones,” says André Vogt. “But I always advise: Take care of your little puppies.”
It makes sense to take a closer look at the behavior of an older person. “And when I feel bad, I go down to take care of the puppy.” The sentence: “They will solve the problem among themselves” is nonsense. “Of course they do – but then you have to take into account the consequences.” And if you are worried that the other dog is tense and upset and might bite you, simply carry the little one in your arms.
“This move is controversial,” admits Andre Vogt. Some dog trainers warn that this may cause anxiety in puppies. “But I will accept it,” said the 39-year-old. “The most important thing is that the puppy trusts me.” As Judith Bunke puts it this way: “Retreating is not a shame!”
An attack can shape a dog’s entire life
It is primarily psychological consequences that an attack can have. “A bad experience can shape a dog’s entire life and is irreversible,” Vogt says. The trusting relationship that has just formed with your mistress or master can also be shaken. The dog trainer explains, “From the point of view of the young four-legged friend, you didn’t do your job. You didn’t protect him.”
But isolating dogs and generally keeping them away from canine encounters is totally wrong. Judith Bunke recommends dog schools where youngsters socialize with adult dogs that she knows are compatible with puppies. The older the puppies, the older the puppies will take up training.
“But always in the way the bastard needs to be understood and without being shocked.” On the way to adulthood, it is important to go through unpleasant experiences. “Otherwise they will collapse in fear later, only when they murmur.”
For Patricia Loach of the Professional Association of Animal Behavior Counselors and Trainers, having a well-socialized and well-trained dog as a friend can be a boon to dogs. “The puppy takes him as a role model, at least until adulthood, which makes the work a lot easier for the owners.” However, this also applies to the opposite: if the other dog is poorly trained, this is also an example of a smaller dog.
André Vogt: “Type-appropriate puppy training: from reckless to sensitive – the best program from the start”, Gräfe und Unzer Verlag, 2021, 192 pages, €22, ISBN 13:978-3833875915.
Judith Bunke: “Dogs Communicate Nonviolently – The New Way to a Comfortable Human-Dog Relationship”, Cosmos, 280 pages, €14.99, ISBN-13: 978-3-440-13830-4.
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