The Critical Age for Socializing Your PuppyMonday, July 18th, 2016, 11:46 pm
So you just brought home your adorable eight week old puppy and you’re trying to do everything right to ensure this dog grows into a wonderful companion for your family. You’re working on potty training, feeding a good food, teaching some basic commands and how to walk on a leash, and having lots of fun and playtime.
You’ve probably heard that it’s really important to socialize your puppy, but you’ve also heard that you need to keep your puppy safe from exposure to disease until he’s fully vaccinated at four months so maybe you’re planning to keep your puppy safe at home until four months and then start taking him out in public for walks, puppy training classes, trips to the park, etc.
Unfortunately, by four months of age the critical period for socializing your puppy is over! At the Connected Canine, we help families throughout the San Fernando Valley and greater Los Angeles area learn the when and why of adopting, training and socializing.
There are a number of different models and opinions of puppy development, but all of them agree that the period from around 5 or 6 weeks until 12 weeks (some say as late as 16 weeks) is the most important time for puppies to be exposed to as much as possible.
Puppies during this time are primed for bonding to their new families and other animals, which is why around 8 weeks is the perfect time to bring your new puppy home. This is also a critical time of learning and imprinting and the time when sociability outweighs fear. Puppies who have positive exposures to lots of new people, children of varying ages, dogs and other animals, noises, smells, surfaces, places, and things before 12 weeks of age will be much more likely to grow into confident, well-adjusted adults.
Puppies who do not get adequate socialization and exposure to different stimuli (habituation) during this critical time are more likely to be fearful of new people, animals, noises, things, and places. In fact, studies on puppy socialization have shown that puppies who do not get adequate socialization before they are 14 weeks old showed only minimal improvement even after an intensive three month socialization program starting after 14 weeks.
Want more information on how we can help teach you and your furry companion how to be the best pup out there? Contact The Connected Canine Dog Training Los Angeles and San Fernando Valley at 818 538-8459.
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