Q: I have a new puppy and when I take him for a walk, he wants to run up to all of the dogs in the neighborhood. Is this a good idea?

A: This is not a good idea for several reasons. The question to ask yourself is this: what do you want your dog doing for the rest of its life? What you do with your dog even as a puppy is what he thinks he will be allowed to do for the rest of his life.

So if what you want is a dog who runs wildly up to every person and dog when you are on a walk then you SHOULD allow him to do it as a puppy. However, if what you would like as your dog matures is a nice dog behaving calmly of a leash then start to show the puppy right from the start what you expect.

Often times people think that when they have a puppy, they need to “socialize” the dog. So they set out to walk the neighborhood with the puppy and, of course, everyone wants to come up to the puppy to greet it. Now as a little puppy, of course it isn’t offensive when he jumps on the people. But remember that what you allow the puppy to do as a puppy, he will think he can do all through his life. So stress that they not pet your puppy unless all four paws are on the ground. If there is a dog on a leash with your neighbor, do not allow your puppy to rush up to greet the other dog. Rather teach your puppy that when he is on a leash, he is working and is not to go up to the other dogs. Believe me that by following this protocol, you will be much happier NOT having to break you dog of rushing up to other dogs and people later in life when he is no longer a cute, little puppy.

Thanks for asking!

Julie Nelson