(SCHAUMBURG, Illinois) July 16, 2012 – Pet owners who have lost hope are relinquishing their dogs and turning them in to shelters because of behavior problems. A local expert in puppy socialization, along with the American Veterinary Medical Association, is hoping to change that.
When people acquire a pet, what they often get is a puppy – and what they want is a well-behaved dog. There is a critical period of time where the opportunity is there for people to properly raise the puppy to become the dog they want to spend their lives with, rather than the dog growing up without the manners and skills necessary to live in harmony with its owners and the community.
Dr. Patrick Melese, a board-certified veterinary behaviorist and director of Veterinary Behavior Consultants
in San Diego, will lead a hands-on puppy socialization lab for veterinarians on Sunday, Aug. 6, from 2 p.m.-5:50 p.m., during the AVMA’s Annual Convention at the San Diego Convention Center.
Dr. Melese will be available for media interviews, and journalists are welcome to observe, film and photograph portions of the socialization lab.
While the lab is geared toward veterinarians, Dr. Melese hopes the media will help spread the message to the public that proper early puppy socialization – starting as young as 9-10 weeks of age – is critical for the long-term welfare and well-being of the family pet. This, along with proper “well-puppy” health and vaccination programs provided by your veterinarian, are equally important for the puppy to develop into a physically and behaviorally healthy adult dog that will spend the rest of its life in your home.
“Behavior issues that can usually be avoided by knowing how to properly choose and then raise a puppy are a leading cause of dog relinquishment,” Dr. Melese says. “Proper and early puppy socialization is critical for the owner to have a dog that has the very best chance of being an enjoyable pet that likes other dogs and people. Having a dog with these qualities helps foster a good, long-term relationship between pet and pet owner, giving the dog the best chance to live a happy life with the initial adoptive owner.”
The socialization lab will also benefit the puppies that will be taking part, providing them exposure and interaction with different people and situations.
Dr. Melese also wants pet owners to know that training a puppy isn’t difficult.
“Socializing and training a new puppy is typically easy and a lot of fun,” he says. “The easiest way to obtain guidance is to ask your veterinarian about an appropriate puppy kindergarten socialization class as soon as you get your new pet or even before you get the new pup.”