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Wii – Could a Video Game Help with Puppy Socialization?

I talked my wife into getting a Wii because it would allow us to play tennis in the winter, without even having to go anywhere.  We set it up yesterday and Peanut thought it was fine – just some new kind of DVD player.  Once we started playing tennis and boxing in the living room, though, he decided that we had gone completely crazy. He slumped upstairs to wait for our sanity to return.

That got me to thinking…what a great puppy socialization tool! Too bad I didn’t have this game 7 years ago, when Peanut was a puppy.

If dogs are raised in quiet homes without kids, they think it’s very odd when they meet them out and about, often leading to fear-based aggression.  Having a physically engaging video game like the Wii transforms quiet homes into a place where the adults occasionally jump up and down, punch the air, and giggle madly – basically, act like kids. Puppies raised in that environment will probably think that humans are crazy sometimes, and that’s ok!

To be on the safe side, it’s probably a good idea to give the puppy a chew toy, like a bully stick, once the video game begins, so that he’s got something fun to entertain him, too.  Otherwise, your puppy may end up turning the game into a chew-fest or decide that you really are scary, after all.

You could also do little short training sessions while you wait your turn. Then your puppy gets practice training in a chaotic environment. Excellent!

For older dogs getting used to the jumping about caused by the Wii (or other similar video games), you may want to give them something even tastier, like a stuffed Kong.

P.S. Don’t forget to put your remote away when you’re finished. It looks like an awfully good puppy chew toy.

Written by Grisha Stewart, Ahimsa Dog Training, Seattle [Slashdot] [Digg] [Reddit] [del.icio.us] [Facebook] [Technorati] [Google] [StumbleUpon] Tweet This Post!
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One Response to “Wii – Could a Video Game Help with Puppy Socialization?”

  1. Rachel Agent Says:

    What a great idea! I agree about it being quite a transition for dogs used to quiet, sedate, adult only homes to be around kids. My little Cooper who is no longer with me grew up with no kid exposure and found it a bit overwhelming. He was not crazy about car rides either but funny enough when we went to visit my brother and his three kids, he would sneak into the garage and wait by the car door to go home. : )

    To help with my current dogs’ stay fluency I like to put on music and dance around and act crazy (no, no youtube videos that I’m aware of) and I hope that this helps with their accepting human “craziness” of all ages.

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