Socializing a Puppy With Other Dogs

I have a 12 week old Pitbull and I took him to my dad's house to play with his three dogs. He bit one of them on the neck and would not let go. He did not hurt him badly, but I'm a little worried. How can I stop him if he does it again and is this normal behavior?

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By melissa from Fort Wayne, IN

Answers:

Socializing a Puppy With Other Dogs

Contact a local branch/chapter of the American Kennel Club (AKC). Many offer excellent "puppy classes" and "obedience classes" for a modest fee. (Many of these clubs are staffed by volunteers and the fee merely covers a few expenses.)

I do have to warn you, though, that you may run into some breed prejudices from some individuals, even some who claim to be and actually are, animal professionals. I'm sure you are aware of how some speak badly of Pit Bulls, but the prejudices are not limited to one breed. I once encountered an obedience class instructor that didn't like any dog bigger than a German Shepherd. So, needless to say, she didn't like my lovable, gentle giant, an English Mastiff! Just keep looking for a real dog person, without breed bias, if you run into an attitude like that.

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The "puppy classes" are not pass/fail. Think of them like supervised and structured play dates. They are fun and silly and a great way to bond with your puppy as he learns how to "play nice". The leader of the "puppy class" will offer helpful suggestions during the classes.

The "obedience classes" are based on a pass/fail system as the dog must rate a perfect 10 (on the final test) to be certified. This is very tough for the youngsters, but they will learn good skills they will keep for life, even if they don't pass the test first time around. There is no shame in repeating an obedience course!

Yes, I would be a bit worried that your pup bites and doesn't let go, but he is certainly capable of learning corrections, (no matter the breed) especially at such a young age. Good luck and I hope you and your pet have a long and happy friendship!

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Oh, I forgot to mention, these classes are usually open to any dog be it a pure bred, a mix, or a Heinz 57! A reputable club will also have restrictions for females in heat as these gals tend to make the boys lose focus and the other girls quite jealous! (11/22/2010)

By Cindy

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