Puppies Benefit from Early Training
The first few weeks of your puppy’s life in its new home are very important for forming behavior patterns that will influence the rest of its life. Socializing your new pet is the most important job you have in accepting the job of puppy owner! Puppies that are not sufficiently socialized may face normal everyday situations with anxiety and fear. When insecure or scared, dogs respond by running away, growling, or biting. Most dogs that bite do so out of fear, not aggression.
Socialization Dogs Between 3 and 12 Weeks of Age
All animals, including humans, go through a process called socialization. The individual learns what things are (dog, cat, human, etc.) and what other types of animals to accept into its immediate proximity without fear. The socialization time period in dogs is limited to 3 to 12 weeks of age. After the 12th week, the unsocialized puppy may be fearful of strangers and any social situation that he is not accustomed to. What does this mean for a puppy? If the puppy is to get along with other dogs when it grows up, it must learn that it is a dog! If it is ever to breed it must know what another dog is! If it is to be boarded or live around other dogs, this species identification is critical. Most puppies are taken away from their littermates at 6‑8 weeks of age. If they do not see another dog until months later they can act shy or aggressive around others of their own kind. Play sessions with other dogs, or puppy socialization classes, are an important part of the socialization period. If the dog is to ever live with cats, it should learn what cats are all about too!
Introduce Your Puppy to All Kinds of People
Puppies also need to learn what humans are humans of all sizes, shapes, and ages. Expose your puppy to as many people as possible, especially children and men! People wearing uniforms are also important introductions that you should make. They must learn that people are fun, not threatening. Puppies will think people are great if they offer him treats.
Introduce Your Dog To Common Noises and Various Settings
After 12 weeks of age, these socializing experiences should be occasionally reinforced to make sure they are not forgotten. Puppies also need exposure to as many real‑life situations as possible. If the puppy is raised in a relatively isolated environment with only its owners it will show problems when taken into different social settings as an adult. It may hide from guests, not hear when the owner is gone, or growl and bite strangers. If the puppy becomes used to different sounds (cars, vacuum cleaners, screaming children, doors slamming), different sights (wheelchairs, people with beards or glasses, crowds, people in white coats), and different surroundings (vet clinics, groom parlor, boarding kennel as a puppy it will be much less stressful when presented these situations as an adult.