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Social Butterfly

In a perfect world, we could protect our dogs from all things negative. But let’s face it, that’s not always how it goes. In the real world, we stress about helping our dogs to respond positively to different, and sometimes scary, situations. We teach them good manners, and we help them with their coping skills for things they might encounter outside of their comfort zone.

It’s funny, but I never realized that while I was helping to raise our litters, I was helping out with a crucial moment of our dog’s lives. I’m sure I’m not the only one. My mom would always have me “play” with the puppies. Who doesn’t love a little puppy breath or a snuggle buddy (especially Beagle puppies?) I’ve started to realize that if not for this so-called “playing,” there is a chance that our next “star dog” could be a little shy and uncomfortable. This is exactly the opposite of what we want!

In fact, it’s a breeder’s worst nightmare to have a bitch produce a dog with outstanding breed quality, but with a not-so-outstanding personality. Unfortunately, this does happen from time to time. This is why it’s so important to properly socialize puppies at a young age.

Now, of course a mellow attitude can’t always be fixed, nor is “mellow” a bad thing. In a lot of ways, dogs are just like you or me, since they each have their very own personality. Who’s to say there is something wrong with that? The important part is that if we plan on showing a certain dog, it also needs that “showy” attitude – at least in the ring.

In some cases, the smallest things can help a dog’s personality to thrive. I strongly believe that by taking the proper steps at every stage of a dog’s life, it’s more likely that your next show dog – or even companion – will turn out just the way you expect. No matter when or where you get your dog, you can apply the right principles to ensure it becomes a happy, social and stable dog!

Exposing your dogs to all different kinds of environments, noises, people and animals is a great way to ensure topnotch social skills. This is just as true for teen and older dogs too. Remember, if you have a positive influence on your dog throughout its life, you can make any dog a social butterfly! Puppy socialization is invaluable, and you might be doing it, without even knowing it.

DFR (Dogs Freakin’ Rule), my friends!!!!!!!

Written by

Kayla Bertagnolli is a 23-year-old from Ogden, UT, who's been involved in the dog show world her whole life. A former junior handler who learned about breeding Beagles from her mother Leah, she assisted several professional handlers and is currently working to become a Junior Showmanship judge. Kayla is passionate about photography and writes the twice-weekly blog, DFR. She plans to continue breeding and showing, and expects to stay involved in dogs "for life!"
  • Erin Coogan January 24, 2012 at 4:15 PM

    Send ’em to their new homes “BOMB PROOF!”
    I am sure our favorite Nat Geo dog trainer would not approve of how to raise a “Show Dog,” with our encouragement of begging, leading US through doors and generally keeping a pack of “intact” dogs, but then again we all are a special breed of our own. Dog Show Maniacs!
    Great to see you in Palm Springs, Kayla. Keep up the good work.

    • Kayla Bertagnolli
      Kayla B January 26, 2012 at 5:33 PM

      “Bomb Proof!!!!” love that!!! Thanks for all your support! Great seeing you as well!

  • Leslee January 25, 2012 at 11:57 AM

    Great blog Kayla! Being a new-comer in the dog show world (almost 8 years), I can’t believe how true this is. I love the growing up puppy part of socialization. Great social skills protect our companions and our “stars”!

    • Kayla Bertagnolli
      Kayla B January 26, 2012 at 5:34 PM

      I’m so glad you could relate to this Leslee!!!! Thanks!

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