INAPPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR IN PUPPIES
Is your dog reactive to other dogs out on walks? Does your dog bark at people, bicycles, cars, fire hydrants? Is your dog afraid of any new thing he encounters? These are all signs of lack of early socialization. Believe it or not the primary socialization period for a dog is between the age of 7 weeks and 20 weeks. That’s the time when you want to get your puppy exposed to everything and anything that he might encounter at some time in his life.
EARLY PUPPY SOCIALIZATION
I know that the mainstream, well intentioned advice is to keep your puppy away from any other dog, don’t take them outside the house until they are fully vaccinated, basically quarantine them until they have all of their shots. While this is very well intentioned advice, the long term ramifications of this can be severely detrimental and can result in phobias that can effect your dog for life. Many of the behavior problems that I see are the result of this lack of exposure to the world. Now I’m not saying to take your puppy to dog parks (that will be addressed in an upcoming blog post) or get them around dogs that you don’t know, but finding and enrolling your dog in an early puppy socialization class that’s monitored where all puppies have at least two vaccinations can transform your dog’s life. Let your puppies see bicycles , kids on skateboards, mail trucks, fire hydrants, landscapers, etc. The more your puppy sees at a young age the more stable he will be in the long run. Over the past 15 years I have been running early puppy socialization sessions with no incidents of disease. In my opinion early socialization is the key to stable, confident dogs for life.