Chows are independent and because some Chows may wish to attach themselves to one person or to one immediate family, the Chow should be "socialized" so that he is completely amenable to being handled by strangers. Socialization is the process by which the Chow puppy is taught to meet and like human beings, other dogs, different environments from his own home, and other foreign situations, with steadiness, calm, and even affability.
Here are some rules for "socialization":
- Pick up the Chow puppy as often as possible from the time he is only a few days old. Be careful not to drop the puppy as you cup your hand around him and nestle him against your chest to protect him from failing.
- Once you have picked up the puppy, pet him and talk to him quietly. At first, the puppy may cry or whine, but as he becomes accustomed to your hands and voice, he will grow to like the experience.
- Continue to pick up and hold the puppy close to you. Once his eyes are open, he will adjust visually to the feeling of being held. Put him on a steady table, such as a card table or grooming table so he will grow accustomed to being groomed on a table.
- When a stranger comes by to visit, pick up the puppy and hand the puppy to the visitor. The puppy should start to enjoy being held by anyone, not just by you or your immediate family.
- If you know any children, ask them to visit you. Teach them how to hold the puppy properly and then allow them to hold the puppy while sitting on the floor or in the yard. Of course, you will be present at all times when your puppy is being exposed to youngsters.
- Encourage your puppy to be openly friendly by romping with him, picking him up many times a day and hugging him whenever you can.
- Accustom your puppy to various noises such as the TV, stereo, and radio. Expose him to as many sounds as you can without ever frightening him.
- By the time your puppy is eight-weeks old, and if he has had his first vaccination, start taking him in the car with you. Whenever you meet anyone, let the stranger pet the puppy and hold him if the person wishes to.
- Although a Chow puppy may be very friendly and well adjusted at home, even to strangers, he may feel threatened when you take him to the super market parking lot, to the park, or to any new environment. Take him often to places he has not been before so that he readily adjusts to a new environment. When the puppy drops his tail, that is a sure sign that he feels uncomfortable or apprehensive. A happy, well-socialized puppy has his tail up!
- Introduce your puppy to as many strangers as possible; ask the stranger to squat down to the puppy's level.
- Have the stranger, once he has squatted on the ground or floor, reach under the puppy's chin first and pet and fondle his neck; do not allow the stranger to bring his hand down swiftly on the dog's head as many puppies seem to be "head shy". After petting the puppy's neck and chin, then the stranger may pet him on the top of the head.
- Take your Chow puppy to a puppy match when he is about twelve weeks old, after his vaccinations are completed so that he can accept the experience of seeing all the other puppies and adult dogs as well as many people. He should show complete confidence in himself and act happy even though this match Is a new experience. If he shys away from people and other puppies and puts his tall down repeatedly, do not scold him but reassure him. If he has been table trained" at home, you might then put him on a grooming table to receive the pettings and hellos of the strangers at the match. Sometimes a table can be helpful in this situation. Be sure that everyone pets the puppy under the chin first -- not on the head, particularly if the puppy should show any signs of being head shy or apprehensive about meeting strangers.
- Do not become discouraged. Keep working with your puppy and he eventually will come around. If you have socialized him since he was a tiny puppy as suggested briefly here, your puppy should be happy to meet strangers, content to go to a new environment and should not feel threatened by seeing other puppies or older dogs.
- To sum up this most important socialization process, it must be said that any Chow that is properly socialized is a happier Chow and is better balanced psychologically than he might have, been without all your work. When your young Chow is friendly with strangers and never puts his tail down, you have a right to be very proud of your accomplishments. In short, any Chow should be amenable to being handled by strangers without any threat of unpleasantness. Because you have been wise in your insistence on his socialization, and on your own willingness to train your puppy, you will have made him a happier Chow and yourself a happier owner.