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Puppy Socialisation – How to Get it Right First Time
It is well documented and fully accepted that puppies should not leave their mother and siblings until they are 7/8 weeks old. Taking a puppy away before this time will mean that it has not been with its mother and siblings long enough to learn many life lessons.
During this period, the pups learn about social interaction, play, and inhibition of aggression, both from the mother and their littermates. Puppies that stay with their mother and littermates during this critical period are generally easier to train, smarter, quicker to potty train and more dog friendly.
This is also the period when puppies learn the most important lesson of their lives, learning to accept discipline and control. The mother cleans the nest by eating and drinking the feces and urine of the cubs. However, after three to four weeks, when the cubs can hear and see, she teaches them to bathe outside the nest with aggressive growls and threats. Of course, this is the trigger that allows us, as owners, to train the young dog to be clean in our home.
I often see dogs raised with puppies where potty training is a real problem. These horrible breeders get lazy, they can’t be bothered to clean up after the puppies once the mother has potty trained them outside. Then they sell them well before the important seven-week basin. Of course, these last few weeks with their mother and siblings have a huge impact on the dogs’ future adult lives. This is why you never buy a puppy if you can’t see the mother, no matter what story the breeder tells you.
Personally, I think the best time to rehome a puppy is seven weeks. This is because from 8 to 10.5 weeks they are in a period of full fear, so the journey and removal of their mother and siblings can be more traumatic during this critical period of fear.
The first 16 weeks of a puppies life is what is known as the “Human Socialization Period”. This is the time when you really need to introduce your puppy to as many things as possible. Learning at this age is lifelong, so this is a perfect time to start training.
This is also the ideal time to introduce the puppy to things that will play an important role in his life. The puppy should be handled gently and positively by different people, especially children.
You should go to strange places, meet other animals, the noises of the road, trains, buses and the hustle and bustle of the great outdoors. You can also enter various sounds such as the vacuum cleaner, washing machine and lawnmower. All these new sounds should be introduced in a positive and non-threatening way. No matter what you do, you will never comfort your puppy if he is startled, frightened or nervous by any new sound or object. This only acts as fear reinforcement, making the situation much worse.
You can introduce your newbie to other dogs and cats before your puppies’ vaccinations are up, as long as those other animals are vaccinated. It is a vaccine that allows your dog to be fully covered at around 10.5 weeks. This is called Nobivac DHPPI/L. Talk to your vet about these vaccines or contact me for more information.
Regarding vaccinations It will depend on your vet when he recommends that you can take your puppy out after the last shots. Some say two weeks, some say one week, and then some say 48 hours, especially if they’ve been trained in the behavior. In the end, you should give due consideration to the potential risks and outbreaks of canine diseases in your area and perhaps talk to several local vets and then make your decision based on the information provided.
Make training fun and enjoyable, don’t make it so hard or boring that your dog yawns throughout the lesson. Start teaching your puppy to understand sit, come and get down from the day you get him. Uses toys, treats and chews. Make sure you control the game by removing these items and then returning or throwing them for the puppy to retrieve.
At the end of the game, make sure you end up taking the toy away by replacing it with a gift to show that he didn’t miss anything and that you just traded the item for something tasty and nice.
This helps prevent food hoarding problems and possessive aggression later in life. He advises against bad habits from day one. If your puppy jumps, discourage him by saying “off” with body language and moving his head away. Most dogs learn to control their biting by biting their companions while playing. This is called bite inhibition If they bite another puppy too hard, the puppy will scream and run away. Most puppies when they first arrive at our home treat us and our families as playmates, and may bite and move around. Copying the behavior of litter mates and shouting.
No matter how gently your puppy bites, you have to react as if he’s taken a piece out of you, until the bite is almost like a butterfly landing on your hand. This discourages biting and mouthing in later life. Make sure that your children and others who visit you do not treat the puppy as a game or toy. Teach the children and any other visitors that they must respect your rules regarding your new arrival.
Socialization and Training classes
Socializing your dog at an early age is vitally important. It is a well-known fact that socialization is so important that it almost trumps all other considerations. Fear of disease or infection has led breeders and owners alike to make the tragic mistake of keeping their puppies in isolation until they have completed vaccinations. By adopting this position they run the risk of ending up with poor dogs who may become aggressive or have serious behavioral problems later on. I accept children in my classes from eight weeks of age, as long as they have their 1st vaccination.
If you wait too long, you will have missed the opportunity to allow your dogs to meet and greet other dogs, children and strangers. Puppies learn all of these important lessons by 16 weeks of age. Body language plays an important role in this process, this lesson once learned is rarely forgotten. Most importantly, puppies learn meet and greet techniques from other puppies of the same age, not so much from adult dogs. Certainly all my classes have all of the above. I encourage children to attend and play puppy pass where everyone has a chance to handle all the other puppies in a positive and friendly manner.
Some people think it’s funny to watch puppies abuse big dogs. Do not allow your puppy to constantly bully, jump and bite other dogs. Do not allow excessively boisterous games of aggression, if you do not follow this criterion, it is possible that an adult dog can suddenly engage your puppy.
This is fairly normal behavior, especially in older dogs, although most adult dogs will allow puppies a lot of leeway and excessive play. You shouldn’t punish the adult dog if he only gives a warning growl or an unrelated air puff. But if you allow your puppy to continually bother you after being warned, the adult dog’s reprimand can become severe. This could make your puppy fearful of other dogs and therefore defensive, which could cause fear and aggression issues later on.
Hindsight is an exact science, forecasting rarely is. Set your rules and stick to them, be firm but fair – never let a puppy ignore your commands or do anything you wouldn’t want an adult dog to do.
Aggression should also be monitored and checked when it occurs. That said, let me clear up some misconceptions about what actually constitutes assault.
If your dog growls at you while you’re playing tug-of-war but not at any other time, you don’t have an aggression problem. It’s a game theme. However, if left unchecked, it can lead to aggression in the future.
I do not recommend any “pull up” games with your puppy until the jaw muscles have matured. Teeth and jaws are very susceptible to misalignment and serious injury with puppies under 24 weeks of age.
If your dog growls at you or your children while eating, putting on a leash or collar, or when you give him a command and a hit, you may have an aggression problem. In this case, seek professional help.
If the dog bites and bites when young (most do) This does not always mean your puppy is aggressive, this is called bite inhibition and is an integral part of the puppies learning curve young dogs, so you understand how to inhibit their biting. If this is the only form of aggression, the prognosis is good.
All you need to learn are some positive and negative reinforcement techniques to cure the problem. However, if the dog bites and goes past the puppy stage, you may have a much more serious problem that may require professional help.
Biting, for whatever reason, can be a difficult problem to correct, especially in later life. Professional handling becomes much easier than you might think! If it is not controlled, it is one of the most serious problems you will have to face with your dog!
Food for puppies and adults:
There are more dog and puppy foods available these days than you can shake a stick at. Some good, some bad, some indifferent and some downright dangerous.
From all the foods I tried, it became clear that cost and quality tend to go hand in hand, although not in all cases you will be surprised that some of the brands do not deliver value for money. I believe it is vital that all puppies have a good start in life and part of that includes a good quality diet.
All my dogs and puppies are being fed Arden Grange, because I trust the food and my dogs love it. They have canned wet food and kibble, their treats are also excellent. Arden Grange cannot be bought in normal supermarkets and this includes pet supermarkets as it does not have the levels of preservatives that would allow it to be stored for years in warehouses. But you can contact Arden Grange directly.
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