Puppies and People
July 06, 2012
Summer has arrived and that means time for new puppies. Those first few weeks you have your new puppy are so very important. When you receive your new little bundle at eight weeks of age, you have approximately four weeks to get them well "socialized." What does that mean? That means that this is the time to get them out in the world and seeing everything there is to see. Puppies at this age are eager to explore, meet peoplem, and try new things. That is why this is the most important part of a puppies life. To make sure that you raise a socially friendly adult dog, puppies need to meet strangers every day. They need to meet men, women, and especially children. After this socialization period ends at around 12-13 weeks, puppies can start to become nervous around people. However, if they have had the proper socialization, they will have the confidence and know-how to overcome any fearfulness they may have had. By the time you get your puppy at 8 weeks, this socialization period is almost over. You’ve got a very narrow window to make sure you get the confident dog you really want.
Ian Dunbar, world renowned trainer, has said that a puppy should meet and be trained by 100 new people before they are 12 weeks old. That works out to about three strangers daily. This isn’t as hard to do as it sounds. Some easy ways are puppy classes, walks, and parties. Choose an off leash puppy class where the pups get a chance to explore and play with each other. Take walks in the neighborhood, and stop and say hello to everyone you see. Take some treats and have the strangers pet and hold your puppy, look in his ears and mouth, all while handing out treats and your dog will love people forever! Throw a puppy party. Have your friends over to handle and train your dog. Take your puppy to the vet just for fun. Have the doctors and staff hand out treats and praise. Go to the local park and have the kids, with supervision, play with your puppy and hold him. With all this done, its unlikely your adult dog will come across a person they don’t like.
Check out Ian Dunbar’s book Before and After Getting Your Puppy for some good training tips.