Who Plays The Biggest Role in Your Puppy's Development?
Whether you've received your puppy from a breeder, shelter, or you bred him/her yourself, you play a crucial role in developing your dog's temperament. A responsible breeder, in my opinion, is not going to allow you to take a puppy from their litter-mates until 8 weeks old. Interacting with litter-mates and adult dogs in the breeder’s home until 8 weeks of age is important for puppies to learn dog language and manners.
If you are a breeder, here are some tips that you may already be working on with your babies before they leave your home with their new families:
- Handle your puppies daily from birth to 8 weeks old. Touch all of their body parts, including flipping them over onto their back until they learn to relax in this position.
- Once their ears are open, play music for them 24 hours a day. Change the station often so they hear a variety of different voices and tones.
- Expose them (safely and cleanly) to as many people as you can. If you have friends with young children invite them over for a play date around 5-7 weeks of age. This is great experience for a young litter!
- Encourage them to explore and investigate. Allow their brains to begin to work for themselves.
- Give them access to a variety of toys and games with different surfaces for them to walk on and feel.
This basic early socialization will set a strong foundation for them as they begin their new lives with their forever families.
So, now your puppy is 8 weeks old. Whats next?
Find a local dog training club/facility in your community. I don’t care how many times you have raised puppies yourself, enroll your puppy. This time frame is crucial for your new family member to learn his/her boundaries and continue socialization.
Benefits of most puppy classes:
- Increase puppy’s responsiveness to learn commands.
- Generally, puppies are teething during this period and they will learn bite inhibition through puppy play time.
- Teach proper interaction with strange people and strange dogs.
- Strengthen your bond with your new family member.
- A weekly car ride in a dog crate will teach them that the dog crate is NOT a punishment.
(Click here to see this Stationary crate. Click here to see Wheel Cart.)
During this period at home, it is also crucial to make sure you’re still exposing your young puppy to different sounds and situations that they will encounter as they grow.
- Open an umbrella with your puppy nearby.
- Change the trash bag around your puppy.
- Move furniture around in your house.
- Turn on the vacuum cleaner.
- SAFELY allow them to hear a running lawn mower.
- Blow dry your hair with your puppy present.
- Wear a hat around your puppy.
(See more Stationary crates here!)
If you and your family invest time and energy into doing these tasks daily with a new puppy, you most likely will raise a well-socialized puppy who will grow into a loving, well-mannered member of your family.
Good luck, and remember, it's up to you to put in the work! Your puppy will enjoy this time with you and your family.
(See all Collapsible dog crate sizes, colors, and features here!)
Written by Professional Dog Handler, Ed T.
(1) thebeestisyettocome.tumblr.com (2) cheezeburger.com. (3) @mareandfriends (4) @chaosandsombra (5) @beesandburlap