The Socialisation Period

15/12/11

Between 3 weeks and 14 weeks, your puppy is learning all about the world, and the experiences it has at this time will shape what it considers to be normal. For example, a puppy born into an apartment in New York will become quickly habituated to traffic noise, but will probably be terrified if it ever meets a sheep.

Using this knowledge, puppy owners and breeders can minimise the risk of phobias in their dog in later life. A good technique is to write a list of things you will expect the puppy to live with when it matures. Examples are vacuum cleaners, prams, loud bangs, trains, other puppies/dogs/animals, wearing a collar, people- and the list goes on! Remember to introduce these things in a gradual and positive manner, so that the puppy doesn’t learn to become frightened of them.

Rescue/older dog? Don’t worry, you can still habituate the dog to things, but it will be a longer process, especially if your dog has learned a fear response!

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One Response to “The Socialisation Period”

  1. Fluffy Tufts Says:

    If only more people were aware of this very important period of a dogs development. We rehomed my poor Casper when he was around 5/6 months. He had been bought from a puppy farm by a young couple. They had no clue how to take care of a dog.

    By the time we got him, he had never been outside. He had not seen a dog since he left the puppy farm. He had only met the young couple and their friends (He is afraid of old people, children, people in hoods, cyclists etc etc). He was left alone from 9-6 every day. He had never been to a vet and had no vaccinations.

    We have done everything we can to socialise him, but it breaks my heart that nearly two years later he can still exhibit a fear response if he is overwhelmed by unfamiliar things.


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