Luna’s Life, a Dog and a Trainer 3/2/17
OK like I said yesterday, when dealing with puppies’ time frames can be important to developmental stages of a dog and yes, you should follow them as closely as possible. But in the cases of some dogs like Luna, the folks that had the dogs before you might not have done all the things necessary. If you are in a case like that don’t worry or freak out! We can still do a lot of catch up and work on the area’s where there are deficiencies… Take Luna for example we know:
- She likes dogs (we need to foster that and keep improving upon it)
- Scared of people, not as bad with women, scared of men and have yet to get a feel for kids at different ages… That alone tells ya where we will be working.
- Shows no fear aggression at all (with me) and took food from me… Even approaching me when I was sitting or lying down… (We will work on that with hand feeding)
So, whether you have a 10-week-old puppy or a 4-5-month-old relinquishment to the shelter (like Luna)
This next article is good to read and understand!!!
Let’s jump right on in “the deep end” and talk about the difference between Personality and Behavior, because this is the most crucial point in this discussion. All animals (puppies included) have a critical social development period. If the puppy is introduced and socialized correctly, we can mold the puppy into just about anything we want. However, if we wait too long, or do it wrong we can end up with an adult dog with some behavioral issues.
Areas and Time-frames
Below are the areas to address and the rough time frames, give or take a week or so.
People By the age of 12 weeks
Soft mouth/Other places or things By the age of 18 weeks
Rules and Routines By the age of 5-6 months
We all want a dog that likes people, but we also need to keep our furry friends safe from the world. So it is imperative that until your pooch has had at least three rounds of boosters/shots, he/she should not be allowed in a place where other non-vaccinated dogs are or have been. Where they poop and pee being the main concern…
Note: even sniffing those areas could infect your puppy, if it has not been vaccinated. While this rule however makes it tougher to work with dogs, we can easily work on people socialization! But be safe, when outside the home, the best place for your puppy is in your arms or in a shopping cart (more on that later)!
You have the opportunity to affect change on your puppy’s personality at this age. You can teach your pup that the world is safe, fun and explorable, if you pair all associations with people with something awesome! (FOOD)
Let’s say a human has a tasty treat, like cheese or boiled chicken. If said human gives this treat to your puppy, the puppy will remember this and be more likely to associate this group of people, with a positive association.
The challenge is that if you wait till 18-20 weeks to teach your pup that all people are awesome, this window will have closed and their personality will become more set and much more difficult to change.
This might sound a tad bit simplistic, but it really is just that simple. If you do it right you can make all the critical encounters with people positive and have a dog that loves people (because they bring presents).
Personality Doesn’t Change
Think of it this way, if you are married or have a roommate and that person is a slob, you understand you can’t changing their personality! You might be able to change specific behaviors, like getting him/her to do the dishes or pick up dirty socks, but this only deals with a specific problem behavior, not the personality. This is not to say that if your dog is already older than 20 weeks that there is no hope, but you will be stuck working to change behaviors rather than mold your pup’s personality, right out of the box.
There is a lot to accomplish in the puppy socialization list. As you proceed, make sure all interactions are positive and not negative. Don’t allow someone to scare your pup, move too fast or for goodness sake be mean. It may not be easy, but if you do it right your chances to have the perfect pup increase exponentially!
All interactions must be positive and associated with supper yummy treats. If we allow our dogs to have a scary or bad experience during this critical developmental period, you risk having a dog that will not trust or enjoy this group of people as an adult.
At this age dogs, should also be carried or in wagon or shopping cart, but not loose on the floor of strange non-clean environments. Always include your vet in this socialization process and accept and listen to their input as well.
Next post is the actual socialization list and some instructions on the how to in each section….
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