31st Mar 2020 @ 6:00 am

Audrey at Pet’s Paradise in Playa Blanca has a busy schedule of dog grooming, training and providing quality animal food and treats. But Audrey’s day wouldn’t be nearly as manageable without help from her socialisation dog, Ice. Shay Rourke met Audrey and Ice last month.

Audrey, what does “socialisation” actually mean?

It’s a necessary part of any puppy’s life. It teaches them to not fear the unknown – proper socialisation means there is no unknown! Between the ages of 3-5 months, puppies must be exposed to all forms of interaction with adults, children and other dogs in particular. Also, taking them into new environments is key to their confidence.

Is it ever too late to socialise a dog?

No, I wouldn’t say so. It would simply take more time and effort. Generally speaking, between 3-5 months is the perfect time for dogs to socialise. Leaving it until 5-6 months old could lead to the dog developing bad habits

Is it an easy process?

It’s easy if you put in the effort! You have to take training step by step, with patience and fairness. You need to be calm and collected. Punishing dogs with violence will only hinder training. With Ice, it was easy, from a puppy I could tell he was a special dog and wanted to please me.

Does Ice help you at Pet’s Paradise?

My job would be much harder without Ice! Every time I meet a dog, Ice is the first one to tell me what type of dog it is: dominant, submissive, shy or scared. They’re subtle hints, but when you recognise them, they’re unmistakable.

During the interview, Ice demonstrated this by correcting Audrey’s other dog. He let out a short growl when a Border Collie tried to eat from an open bag of kibble. Audrey reaffirmed her status in the pack by simply showing her teeth to Ice.

What did you demonstrate to Ice when you did that?

Ice warned my Border Collie to stay away from the kibble, which is correct! However, I lead this pack and Ice knows that I give out the corrections. He’ll be quiet now as he’s been told off. A lot of my clients tell me that Ice is the perfect dog. He isn’t, though. No dog is perfect!

You describe yourself as the “Pack Leader”. What makes a good leader?

A pack leader is fair and protective, not powerful or strong. There is a misconception that pack leaders must be big and physically strong. This is simply not true. Your dogs follow by example, so lead by example!

Thanks to Audrey at Pet’s Paradise for the fascinating interview. Thanks to Ice the dog also, for demonstrating some tricks and behaviour!