Hi there! I'm Lars and that's my dog Millie. At the time of this photo, she was around 8 months old and growing up to be a great companion. If you want to see what it was like to raise her, you can watch my puppy vlog on YouTube.
Welcome to our new blog! Here we'll share our experiences and best practices for raising an awesome dog. We'll include training tips and even recipes you can make for your pup.
What is a social puppy? It's a dog that has been raised to be well behaved around other people, other dogs, and can accompany you at work or when visiting friends and family.
Unfortunately, over 3.3 million dogs are given up for adoption each year in the US alone. About half of those end up being re-homed and the rest end up in shelters long term (at best). Other than family/housing reasons, the most common issues that lead to giving up a dog are aggression, destruction of property, and health issues; however, in most cases, with proper training these issues can be avoided or resolved.
We wanted to do our best to raise Millie to be an easy-going, gentle, well socialized dog - and we wanted to enjoy doing it. We wanted a furry companion that was friendly, safe around kids, and would joyfully play with other dogs. We also wanted to be able to take her with us to work or leave her alone at home without her being destructive or barking incessantly. That too much to ask?
I grew up with dogs, but am not a professional dog trainer. Our dogs were raised in the countryside where they were able to run free and there wasn't too much trouble they could get into. Now, living in the city, I knew we had to take our dog training much more seriously so Millie could keep up with our active urban lifestyle.
After doing a lot of research, reading a few books, and watching too many dog training videos on YouTube, we decided to raise our puppy following the positive reinforcement techniques outlined in this book (highly recommend!). We read a few other books as well but were a little upset to see how many recommended corrective and dominance based training techniques. Although those approaches have worked for millennia, they can result in a dog becoming aggressive if not done correctly and they establish a power-based relationship which can be stressful for the dog.
Then I started reading heartbreaking stories of people "failing" to raise their puppies properly or simply getting in over their heads. This lead me to consolidate the lessons we've learned, connect with professional dog trainers, and put together a relatively straightforward guide anyone could follow. Of course this guide is just a part of a training plan and should be accompanied by obedience classes and support from your local pet stores and trainers.
That resulted in the #12weekpuppychallenge which is meant to be a commitment one takes when they decide to get a puppy or adopt a dog. It means that for the next 12 weeks, you are dedicated to raising your dog as well as you can. To expose them to the situations they'll be facing in their life with you and to teach them the skills they'll need in order to be a good companion. This early focus and investment will yield a better relationship with your dog for years to come.
Of course raising a dog doesn't end after 12 weeks. Most dogs take ~2 years to really train and then a lifetime of enjoyment and reinforcement. This is why we created the Social Puppy mobile app. It's a place where you can join other dog owners to learn, share your experience, and keep track of your dog's training, health, and more.
No one gives up a dog because it didn't learn to sit and shake a paw - those tricks are relatively simple. It's much more critical to teach your dog proper manners around the house, dog parks, and throughout daily life.
Thank you for checking out Social Puppy. We've prepared this humble guide to help as many people as possible. All dogs, like people, have different personalities and challenges vary from breed to breed, so take care to learn about your dog and adjust your training accordingly.
We wish you all the luck in the world and are here if you have any questions. Join our community and we can help each other raise social puppies.