The following is an excerpt from "Pomskies: A Complete Guide for the New Owner" by David Anderson and Erin Hotovy. For more information visit the books Amazon Page.
Author Credit: David Anderson and Erin Hotovy
Why Socialization is so Important
Socializing your Pomsky from day one is so important. It’s also important to continue socializing your Pomsky throughout his lifetime. A well-socialized Pomsky can grow to become a safe and relaxed dog. A socialized Pomsky will be more comfortable with new experiences and with meeting new people. He will also be less likely to be fearful of other people. A fearful dog can tend to be dangerous to himself and to others. Ultimately, his fear can lead to aggression.
It can be difficult to understand why your dog has certain fears or aversions. For instance, your dog may be great around women, but cower or growl when a large man gets too close to him. This may be because your dog had a bad experience with a man, or because he’s not used to seeing someone who looks, sounds, and probably smells different. You know that there’s nothing to fear, but your dog takes the uncertainty and uses it to feed his fear.
The end goal is for your dog to feel comfortable and stay calm in any setting he’s in. This way, it’s easier to take your dog places. The more experiences you allow your dog to have, the better off he’ll be. Everything from a trip to the vet, to grabbing brunch on a patio, to answering the door for the mail carrier will be easier when your dog is well-socialized.
Overall, the more you socialize your puppy, the more comfortable he will be with new experiences and less apt to be fearful of new things. It is important to socialize your Pomsky because it will help you to raise a puppy that is happy, healthy, and well-balanced.
You will want to start socializing your Pomsky from day one. As previously discussed, puppies that are ages three weeks to 12 weeks are most receptive to newer experiences. Because of this, the sooner you start socializing your Pomsky, the better. After 18 weeks, it rapidly becomes increasingly difficult to socialize your Pomsky.
Socialization is an ongoing process and should never be stopped. Even when you feel as if your Pomsky is completely comfortable with new experiences, you will want to still continue socializing him. Continue to go to the dog park to meet other dogs and walk around busy places to exercise your pup’s socialization muscle.
Socializing your Pomsky will also take a lot of time and patience. Socialization does not happen in one training session. Overall, you will want to expose your puppy to things that he may see every day or even on some rare occasions. Expose your Pomsky to babies, young children, older children, other dogs, adults, cars, loud noises, other animals, and other experiences that he may come across on his daily walks with you. Focus on commonalities, events, and people and animals that your dog is most likely to come across. Again, you will want to practice consistency on top of patience. Consistency will lead your puppy to remain calm when around these stimuli.
During sessions in which you are socializing your Pomsky, you will want to avoid overwhelming your Pomsky. Read your dog’s body language. If you notice that your Pomsky is cowering or whimpering, you will need to seriously consider giving him a break. You need to take socialization slowly with your Pomsky. The goal for socializing your Pomsky is to make your puppy comfortable about the new experiences and enjoy them, not become fearful of new experiences.
To achieve this goal, you will want to do your best to make socialization enjoyable for your puppy. You will want to make it fun for him. Use rewards and praise to build your puppy’s confidence and to reward his positive behavior and reactions to the socialization. If you notice that your puppy is becoming fearful of a stimulus, take him further away from the stimulus. Do not completely leave the situation, but take him further away to lessen his stress. You will want to reward good behavior around the stressful or scary stimulus. You want to train your puppy to begin to see the stimulus as a good thing and not a negative thing. You should also avoid rewarding fearful behavior with coddling. This will only encourage your dog to be fearful of these things instead of becoming desensitized to them.
The socialization process needs to be taken slowly and patiently. You do not want to push too much on your puppy too quickly, lest he begins to see new experiences as a negative thing. A well-socialized puppy tends to be a confident, calm, and happy dog to be around as he grows and matures.
Before socializing and introducing your Pomsky to other dogs and animals, you will want to ensure that your puppy is fully vaccinated. Vaccinations will help to ensure that your dog is protected from common illnesses that other animals or dogs could carry and pass on to your precious puppy. It is not only important to socialize your dog with other dogs. You will also want to consider socializing your puppy with other animals, especially ones that your dog may easily cross paths with. For example, if you know that your dog will constantly cross paths with a cat, then from day one you will want to socialize your dog with cats. Dogs that are raised around cats tend to get along with other cats in general and not see them as prey. Pomskies tend to chase prey, so you may need to work against their natural instinct to chase after smaller animals.
Socializing your Pomsky puppy with other puppies is also important. You will want to socialize your puppy with other puppies that are friendly and healthy. You do not want your puppy getting hurt or sick by playing with other puppies. Puppy classes can help with socialization as well. Other ways to help your dog socialize with other dogs are to take frequent trips to the dog park, as long as your puppy has been fully vaccinated.
When introducing your Pomsky puppy to other dogs there are some guidelines that you will want to follow. First of all, you will want to choose a neutral place for the dogs to initially meet. You may want to bring both dogs to a dog park that is new to each of them. This neutral zone will help to avoid the dogs getting territorial, which could end up causing problems.
You will need multiple handlers. Do not attempt to introduce two dogs by yourself. If you need to separate the dogs, you will need the other set of hands to take one dog in one direction as you take your dog in the other.
Provide a lot of positive reinforcement during the initial interactions. Allow the dogs to sniff one another and become acquainted with one another. Praise these positive interactions with happy and lighthearted tones. You will want to avoid using threatening or nervous tones throughout the entire experience. You want your dog to feel that meeting new friends is a happy occasion and not a scary or negative experience.
You will also want the interactions to be short. You do not want to pressure the dogs. One dog, if overstressed, could become aggressive. To prevent this, interrupt the interactions with simple commands like sit, lie down, and paw. This will keep your dog from obsessing over his new friend and getting anxious.
Throughout the interaction, you will want to watch the body language of both dogs. Aggressive behavior can be displayed by a dog in numerous ways. Dogs show aggressive tendencies by growling, staring, baring his teeth, hair standing on end, referred to as piloerection, and walking stiffly. If either dog is displaying this sort of behavior, you will need to separate the dogs immediately and find ways to calm them down. You may ask your Pomsky to sit or lie down, for example. When both dogs have a calmer body language, reward them with treats and praise. It is possible to try the interaction again, but you will need to give each dog more space and give breaks more frequently. Eventually, the dogs should stop showing aggression. When they seem to not show any more aggression, the dogs are more likely to be more comfortable with one another and the initial introduction is done.
Dogs can learn a lot through smell. Some owners think it’s distasteful for their dog to sniff another’s rump, but the scents the other dog gives off tell your pup a lot about who he’s dealing with. We know that a dog can smell the sex of another dog, including if the dog has been neutered. This information can potentially tell your dog who to avoid and who to approach. Beyond that, there are probably a lot of other types of information being transmitted. If your dog sniffs another in a delicate area, don’t pull him away and scold him for being impolite. In fact, sniffing is the polite thing to do, as your dog is just meeting another dog and getting to know it better. Never discourage your dog from interacting with another dog, unless he gets aggressive towards the other dog. Then you’ll need to take your dog aside and diffuse the situation.
Introductions and socialization of your dog with other dogs is extremely important when looking to raise a well-balanced and social dog. As with other training, patience is key. It is important to take it slowly and to avoid stressing your Pomsky out with overstimulation. Make the socialization process an exciting and fun experience for your Pomsky.
Other than raising a Pomsky that is good around other dogs or other animals, you will want to raise a Pomsky that is also good around people that are outside of his family or his pack. This will also take time and patience for you and your Pomsky.
It may be surprising to many that dogs can be nervous around people of all sorts of ages, races, genders, sizes, style of clothing, and etc. Although it may sound silly, you will want to socialize and introduce your dog to a lot of different people and different types of people. A dog can notice a lot more than you think. For example, if never socialized with men, and only raised by a woman, a dog, upon meeting a man, can become anxious or nervous. Alternatively, a dog may be nervous around a person who walks with a cane or wears glasses or a large hat. However small or silly the detail may seem, a dog can and will notice it, and it may make him nervous or anxious.
To help this, you will want to expose your dog to myriad people. Again, you want to reward good and positive reactions and behaviors that your dog exhibits. You do not want to reward any fearful behavior that he may show.
Keep the interactions short. You will want to also start by introducing your puppy to people that you trust before you start to walk out and about, exposing your Pomsky pup to all sorts of people. You will want to also keep a keen eye on your dog and his body language. If you notice him getting anxious or threatened, you will want to be sure to give him the breaks that he needs. As your dog becomes more comfortable around strangers, try to get others in on the training. While on a walk, ask a friendly stranger to give your dog a treat. Your dog will learn that strangers are good because he gets good treats when someone else approaches him.
Socializing your dogs with people is also important to raising a happy, healthy, and confident dog. You want to make these experiences relaxed, calm, and fun for your dog. Your dog feeds off your energy. If you are calm and confident, your dog will feed off this energy. When working with people you trust to begin with, you begin to build a strong foundation for your dog as he learns to trust people.
Children need to learn proper ways to interact with dogs. However, at the same time, you also need to help your dog become more comfortable with children through socialization. Children can sometimes be scary to dogs. Children are unpredictable, loud, and can sometimes be rough with dogs.
Some Pomskies do well with children. However, it is mostly dependent on what the Pomsky inherits from the Pomeranian father or Siberian Husky mother. Siberian Huskies tend to be great around children. Pomeranians, on the other hand, are normally nervous around children. Pomskies can actually inherit either trait. Consistent and early socialization can help your Pomsky to become more comfortable with children and not be as nervous around younger children.
You will want to start by working with children that are polite and respectful of dogs. You also need to keep the time interacting with the children short to start. You want to avoid overwhelming your puppy. When your dog has had enough, he will naturally walk away in an attempt to chill out. Do not follow or force your dog to rejoin you if he’s stressed out.
When meeting a young puppy, children can become very excited, and sometimes too much excitement can be frightening for a young Pomsky. Help to teach the children about patience and respecting your puppy’s space. The children should know to listen to you, or another trusted adult, about when it is time to leave a dog along. A child needs to learn proper respect of the dog and how to pet and carefully handle a dog.
Interacting with dogs can be a great learning experience for children. Dogs, when properly socialized, can demonstrate great love and loyalty to their smaller human pack members. Dogs are powerful animals that can only communicate through body language. With that said, it is important to remember this when children are around the new puppy.
Encourage the children interacting with your puppy to read your Pomsky’s body language. The dog should be allowed to come to the child calmly. You are ultimately in charge of your dog. You also need to understand that it is okay to stop the interaction if something is not working. If you notice your dog is becoming increasingly nervous around the children, you need to stop the interaction. Your puppy trusts you. You should respect that trust by not forcing him into something that makes him nervous, scared, or tense. Provide your Pomsky with a lot of treats and positive reinforcement to make the experience a positive one for him.
Unfortunately, any breed can snap at someone they feel uncomfortable around, and usually this person is a child. Little children may not have the capacity to understand that a dog is an animal that will act on instinct if provoked. A child with little control will poke and prod a dog until it has no choice but to turn around and snap. This does not necessarily mean your dog is dangerous. However, if your dog shows frequent aggressive behaviors, you may need to make a plan to keep your household safe. But, when children learn about your dog’s boundaries, this usually takes care of the problem. Constant supervision is a must here—you don’t want your dog to learn to fear people, just as you don’t want your kids to fear dogs.
Children can be scary for a young dog, perhaps especially with a Pomsky. Learning how to interact and respect a dog is important for a child. Interactions need to be kept short and sweet. A lot of positive reinforcement throughout the interactions can help to make these experiences positive ones.
To read more from "Pomskies: A complete Guide for the New Owner" by David Anderson and Erin Hotovy, or purchase on Amazon, visit the link below: