A big word...socialization. Simply put, take your puppy to as many places, to meet as many people, to see as many different things as you can. Pups who are exposed to many sights and sounds between the age of 4 to 18 weeks, the prime socialization period, are more comfortable living in our world.
Melissa has been having at least one new experience each day since she arrived at our home two weeks ago. Socialize but don't terrorize your puppy. Select appropriate pups to play with your pup. Breeds have different play styles. I am monitoring who she meets and how they meet. I am cautious that she does not get body slammed or frightened by other pups or adult dogs. Just like people, dogs have different personalities. Some are bold and play rough, some are softer and like to play with only one pup at a time. I respect this in my dogs, some are leaders some are very happy being followers. That said, Melissa has met many different breeds in the past two weeks and has been having a blast rolling and running.
Melissa had her first hotel experience this past weekend....another chapter in her socialization. A friend and I were at Dogs Learning Center www.dogslearningcenter.com in Massachusetts for a training seminar with Kathy Sdao from Seattle Washington. Melissa got to meet many different people, dogs, she slept in a new room, walked on different surfaces, and played with different toys. Being among other positive reinforcement trainers I knew the environment was going to be relaxed and safe for Melissa.
Today my older dog had an appointment at the vet, you guessed it..another opportunity to expose Melissa to the world. She met a man wearing a hat and heavy coat, and a young boy who stopped to pet her. She saw fish in the aquarium. She walked on the side walks and watched cars, trucks and buses go by. All part of her being exposed to the world.
If you have a new puppy and would like to ask me a specific question please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will answer you on this blog so everyone with a new puppy, or anyone about to get a new puppy, can read what we all are doing with our new pups.