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By Dr. Becker

Many dog owners at some point realize their pet no longer seems interested in being with other canines.

Their formerly friendly, social dog has grown standoffish or even guarded when other dogs are around.

What happened?

Socialization is a Lifelong Pursuit

J.C. Burcham, a DVM with a special interest in animal behavior, thinks this widely reported phenomenon could be the result of a lack of ongoing socialization.

According to Dr. Burcham:

Being polite and friendly takes practice!

Perhaps your dog got along great with other dogs when he was younger—you took him with you on errands, visited the dog park regularly, and had play time with your friends’ dogs.

But then, as time went by, life became more complicated in a way we never quite have the foresight to see, and you were no longer able to take your dog with you everywhere and socialize him all the time.

Besides, you reasoned, you socialized him well while he was young and impressionable, just like a good dog owner should.

Dr. Burcham believes even dogs well-socialized as puppies, if not given regular opportunities to interact dog-to-dog as adults, can lose their ability to mix comfortably with others of their species.

In her experience, some pets are naturally skilled at dog-to-dog dealings, but many others need regular practice through activities that provide the chance to socialize with unfamiliar people and pets.

Is the Dog Park the Best Place for Your Pooch?

If your dog seems to have lost the knack for being around other canines, there are lots of things you can do to help him regain his social skills.

But before I get into that, I want to caution you not to assume just because your pet doesn’t do well at the dog park, he’s anti-social or unfriendly toward all other canines. According to Kathy Diamond Davis, author and trainer, writing for Veterinary Partner.com:

It is actually more “normal” for a mature dog to NOT be able to “play nice” with strange dogs in a dog park than it is for the dog to be able to do it! Dogs in the wild are not “social” in the sense of making friends with every dog they meet. This is a human idea, and currently a big fad among people with dogs. It’s causing a lot of serious problems.

I encourage you not to use your pet’s behavior at the dog park as a gauge of his sociability.

Adult canines aren’t wired to mix and mingle with large groups of strange dogs, so think of socialization in terms of exposure to other dogs and people through directed activities.

Tips for Keeping Your Adult Dog Well Socialized

  • Obedience classes provide an environment where all the dogs are kept under control. This can be very helpful if your pet seems wary or fearful around other dogs. Organized classes give him the opportunity to be around other pups, but from a slight distance.
  • If you have friends with dogs, arrange play dates with one (carefully selected) dog at a time. Put your dog and his doggy friend in a safe, enclosed area and let them get to know each other. This is another low pressure social situation in which your pup can hone his skills without being overwhelmed by too many dogs, or an overly dominant dog.

    If things go well, you can arrange future outings for the four of you to take walks or hikes, toss Frisbees, fetch tennis balls, go swimming, etc.

  • If it makes sense for you and your dog, get involved in dog agility competitions. These events provide a great opportunity for your dog to be around other dogs and people while getting lots of exercise, mental stimulation, and shared time with you.
  • If agility isn’t appealing, there are lots of other activities that might be, including flying disc, dock jumping/dock diving, flyball, flygility, herding, hunt and field trials, musical freestyle and heel work, to name just a few. Dogplay.com is a good resource for exploring organized exercise and socialization possibilities for your dog.
  • Another fabulous socialization activity you can share with your pet, depending on his temperament and personality, is training to be a therapeutic visitation dog. These dogs and their owners visit hospitals, nursing homes, detention units, rehab facilities, certain schools, senior citizen apartments and other places where people aren’t permitted to keep pets or aren’t able to care for them.
  • Another possible option for socialization and exercise is to enroll your pet in a doggy daycare program one or two days a week. You want to ensure the facility you choose has at a minimum a knowledgeable staff trained in dog communication and interaction, separate play areas for dogs of different sizes, and supervised playgroups. Extensive temperament tests should be performed on all dogs to evaluate their behavior in the daycare environment. Introduction to the pack should be gradual for all new dogs.

    A word of caution about doggy daycare facilities … most require at least yearly re-vaccinations for rabies, distemper, parvo and bordetella. This isn’t the vaccine protocol I recommend for your pet.

  • Last but not least, never underestimate the socialization value of regular daily walks with your dog. You both get fresh air, stress-relieving and perhaps even heart-thumping exercise, and opportunities to encounter old and new two- and four-legged friends.

Mercola Healthy Pets

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HSUS Lies To Congress, Public                
About New ‘PUPS’ Legislation
Would Call Out Feds On Many Non-Breeding Kennels
by JOHN YATES
American Sporting Dog Alliance
http://www.americansportingdogalliance.org
asda@csonline.net

http://www.wendtworthcorgis.com/PuppyImages/Grunt/IMG_0047.jpg
WASHINGTON, DC – The Humane Society of the United States is pushing new federal legislation that the radical animal rights group claims is aimed at stopping large dog breeding kennels that skirt the law.
According to HSUS, the legislation targets only kennels that sell more than 50 puppies a year. The bill’s sponsors, Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Rep. Sam Farr (D-CA), repeat those claims.
They are lying through their teeth, an American Sporting Dog Alliance analysis of the actual legislation shows. In fact, the legislation targets almost every boarding, day care, training and handling kennel in America, along with many hunt clubs and hunting plantations. It also impacts many serious hobbyists, who have a lot of dogs even though they only raise a couple of litters of puppies a year, our analysis shows
Rep. Farr is the prime sponsor of H.R. 6949, and Sen. Durbin is the sponsor of its companion bill in the Senate, S. 3519. The formal name of this legislation is the “Puppy Uniform Protection Statute,” or “PUPS.” It also has been nicknamed “Baby’s Bill,” after a rescued dog from a commercial kennel that is touring the country with its owner, Chicagoan Jana Kohl. Kohl is on an HSUS-sponsored campaign against “puppy mills,” and has visited several states. Her recent book includes a photo of presidential candidate Barrack Obama, and his reported commitment to clamp down on “puppy mills.”
The legislation is an amendment to the federal Animal Welfare Act, which requires federal licensure of commercial kennels (called “dealers”) who sell puppies wholesale to brokers or pet stores. This law does not regulate people who sell dogs and puppies directly to the consumer.
HSUS calls this a “loophole,” and has been pushing for many years to include kennels that sell directly to the buyer. Previous attempts, such as the Pet Animal Welfare Act and Sen. Durbin’s attempted amendment to the 2008 Farm Bill, have failed.
The PUPS legislation is the latest attempt by HSUS.
Here is how HSUS describes the legislation: “The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society Legislative Fund commend federal lawmakers for introducing bills that will crack down on abusive “puppy mills” in the United States — where breeding dogs are often stacked in wire cages for years to produce litter after litter. The legislation will close a loophole in the Animal Welfare Act that currently allows large, commercial breeders who sell puppies online and directly to the public to escape licensing and regulation.”
Here is the HSUS description of who will be affected: “All dog breeders who sell more than 50 puppies per year directly to the public will be federally licensed and inspected…The bill will not affect small breeders and hobby breeders who sell fewer than 50 dogs per year directly to the public, but is crafted to cover only the largest commercial breeding facilities.”

Press releases by Sen. Durbin, Rep. Farr and other members of Congress echo those claims.

Here is what the legislation actually says, in sections defining a dealer and who is exempt from licensure as a dealer.

A person or kennel owner who “does not breed or raise more than 50 dogs for use as pets during any one-year period” and who sells dogs or puppies “directly to the public for use as a pet” is exempt from licensure and regulation as a dealer. Any dog is defined by the Act as a pet, regardless of its use or purpose. Thus, a person who meets that definition does not require a federal license.

The words “breed or raise” are an obvious and deliberate attempt to snare many kennel and dog owners in federal regulations, including many kennels that do not breed at all. The language is very ambiguous and could be interpreted to include virtually anyone who has a lot of dogs.

The term “raise” is not defined in the legislation, but is generally interpreted to mean a person who keeps, cares for, houses or owns a dog or dogs.

Most professional trainers and handlers of field trial, show, obedience or performance dogs would have more than 50 dogs in their kennels over the course of a year. In fact, many trainers and handlers who employ helpers would have more than 50 dogs at any given time, and most do not breed at all.

A boarding kennel, dog daycare service, hound hunt club, hunting plantation or circus could be included under a definition that they “raise” more than 50 dogs per year. Even many private field trialers and show dog people would have more than 50 dogs a year in their kennels, as they often keep most of the puppies they produce to evaluate. For field trial dogs, for example, it often takes two or three years of working with a young dog to determine if it is worthy to use for competition or breeding.

A favorite tactic of HSUS is to deliberately use ambiguity in model legislation in order to entrap as many kennels and dogs in the law as possible, going far beyond the stated purpose. If HSUS and its elected cronies had wanted to be honest, the legislation simply would say that it excludes anyone who sells fewer than 50 puppies a year.

It is obvious that truth is not their highest priority.
The HSUS propaganda mill for this legislation continues to attack people who use the Internet to sell dogs or puppies. It attempts to link Internet sales with sick puppies and shoddy “puppy mills.”
In fact, almost all of America’s finest kennels in every breed have a presence on the Internet. Most have websites, and many run online advertisements to sell individual dogs and litters of puppies.
If anything, a good case could be made that it is almost impossible to buy a high quality puppy from a kennel that does not make use of the Internet. The Internet simply is a reality of modern life, and a reported 80-percent of American households use it.
This smear campaign is simply another attempt by HSUS to tar dog breeders with the broadest possible brush. At best, it shows complete ignorance of the real world of dogs. At worst, it shows a vicious attempt to defame honest and conscientious people who raise dogs.
HSUS is not an animal welfare organization. It has nothing to do with local humane societies. Instead, it is a political action and lobbying arm of the radical animal rights movement that continually pushes for tighter restrictions on animal ownership, with each piece of legislation making a step toward its ultimate goal, which is the total elimination of animal ownership in America.
Another section of the legislation requires all dogs kept in federally licensed kennels an hour of exercise a day, divided into at least two separate periods. Dogs would be removed from their primary enclosures and allowed to walk for these exercise periods.
The final section of the legislation specifically allows states to adopt more stringent standards.
While a member of the California Assembly, Farr also authored legislation to severely regulate dog breeding.
Co-sponsors of PUPS in the Senate are Sen. Dianne Feinstein [D-CA], Sen. Claire McCaskill [D-MO], and Sen. Ron Wyden [D-OR]. House co-sponsors are Reps. Judy Biggert (IL), Lois Capps (CA), Terry Everett (AL), Barney Frank (MA), Elton Gallegly (CA), Jim Gerlach (PA), Patrick Kennedy (RI), Mark Steven Kirk (IL), Daniel Lipinski (IL), Betty McCollum (MN), Thaddeus McCotter (MI), James McGovern (MA), Dennis Moore (KS), James Moran (VA), Patrick J. Murphy (PA), Jerrold Nadler (NY) and Janice Schakowsky (IL).
The American Sporting Dog Alliance is urging all dog and kennel owners to immediately contact their congressman and senator and ask them to vigorously oppose this legislation.
Here is a link for contact information for senators: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm.
Here is a link to contact information for the House of Representatives: http://www.house.gov/house/MemberWWW.shtml.
The American Sporting Dog Alliance represents owners, breeders and professionals who work with breeds of dogs that are used for hunting. We welcome people who work with other breeds, too, as legislative issues affect all of us. We are a grassroots movement working to protect the rights of dog owners, and to assure that the traditional relationships between dogs and humans maintains its rightful place in American society and life.
The American Sporting Dog Alliance also needs your help so that we can continue to work to protect the rights of dog owners. Your membership, participation and support are truly essential to the success of our mission. We are funded solely by the donations of our members, and maintain strict independence.
Please visit us on the web at http://www.americansportingdogalliance.org. Our email is asda@csonline.net. Complete directions to join by mail or online are found at the bottom left of each page.
PLEASE CROSS-POST AND FORWARD THIS REPORT TO YOUR FRIENDS

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