If the puppy is destined for the show ring, then you are wise to begin opening his mouth several times a day. Do it gently and make it fun. If the puppy thinks its a game, he’ll be more amenable. You also want to handle your male puppys testicles so that he gets accustomed to this type of inspection. The dog-show judge must check the Chows teeth and testicles in the ring. Its no fun for a handler to stand over his uncooperative Chow while the dog-show judge gingerly tries to pry open the dogs jaws. Happy, playful puppies make the best show dogs.
Once you have trained your Chow puppy to stand still and to gait on a lead, as well as to have his teeth and testicles touched, you can enter your puppy in a match show. You should be calm and confident, and your Chow will take your cue. Dog shows are excellent places for socialization, meeting other dogs and people who are receptive to all kinds of canines.
Another fun part of socializing the Chow is taking him out! You want to bring your Chow everywhere possible: the mall, the park, the boardwalk, the lake, the family reunion. Anywhere dogs are allowed to go! Maybe you can bring your pup to show-and-tell at your childrens school. The more unfamiliar environments to which you can introduce your Chow puppy, the better. If you have a dog park in your neighborhood, this is an excellent way to socialize the puppy with other dogs. Some puppies are aggressive toward other dogs, so this will require a little interaction and encouragement. Do not pull on your Chows leash while he’s meeting another dog. Dog fights most often occur when two nervous owners are yanking on their dogs leads instead of just allowing the dogs to sniff and posture and get to know each other.
Socializing doesn’t happen overnight. Your Chow needs to be included in your activities daily. If you neglect to include your Chow in outings or family gatherings, he may regress. You must be responsible for the total socialization of your Chow. This is the only way to have a reliable, friendly, personable Chow Chow who is a pleasure to own and present.
Next step: Training Overview
Reprinted from Breeders Best: Chow Chow © 2004. Permission granted by Kennel Club Books, an imprint of BowTie Press.