Stafford

Puppy Socialization

             

 

 

 

Starting one week after you get your puppy (age 8 or 9 weeks), get himout one day a week to a new situation he has never seen before. This takes some planning, but is worth the effort.

 

8 Weeks

 

A walk (off leach) in a meadow or pasture with medium tall grass. Keep him with you by voice. Encourage him to climb over little mound of dirt or a log. Praise his efforts to do something he has never done before. Walk just fast enough that he has to strain very slightly to keep up with you. At his age his desire to stay with you is very keen. Capitalize on that. The walk should take no more than 20 minutes.

 

 

 

9 Weeks

 

 

 

Another walk, this time in the woods. He is in taller grass and weeds. He must occasionally climb over small logs (Just big enough to be a challange). He goes up the hill, own the hill, over the rocks, maybe down a small bank. The perfect setup is where he goes across a small creek. He gets wet up to the chest. He scrambles up the bank to follow you. He goes through a thick carpet of leaves that crunch when he walks. Encourage him all the way. Praise him for meeting the challenge. The walk takes about 20 minutes.

 

  

 

 

 

10 Weeks

 

 

 

 

The same age as age 9 weeks but a bit more difficult. Occasionally hide momentarily from him when he is distracted in the woods. Watch him. Does he notice you are missing? If he does, and starts to look for you, suddenly appear and praise profusely. If he doesn't look for you, toss a pebble to make him notice you are missing. Then call him from your hiding place. Whem he starts to look for you, appear and praise him. This will teach him, as it is repeated time and time again, to watch you when you are out of the woods, instead of you having to constantly be watching where he is. This makes him take that responsibilty of staying with you. Play this game over and over through many weeks until you cannot hide from him because he is always watching. This only works when started young.

 

 

 

 

 

 

11 Weeks

 

 

Take him swimming. You hold him and wade out to knee deep water. Point him toward shore and gently let him go. Be sure he gets his head up and heads for shore. Have someone on shore encouraging him in a positive way. Another way to approach this is to entice him into the water by going in yourself and encouraging him to ollow. Do not throw him in! When you are through get him out and dry him off and go home. Don't let him get chilled.

 

 

 

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12 Weeks

 

Take a trip to the farm. Let him see cows, horses, chickens and whatever else you can find. This time you can keep him on leach. Make sure he is safe from the animals and let him get close enough to sniff. This outing can take 20 or more minutes. You have a positive attitude about all this. Be nonchalant about all, as if this is what 12 week old pup does.

 

 

 

13 Weeks

 

 

Take him on leach to town. Walk himon a main street with medium to light foot traffi. He sees and hears cars, trucks and heavy street traffic. He passes by many people walking bicycles, delivery men with hand trucks, etc. This should be a short outing about 10 minutes. Praise him lavishly for positive behaviour. Be nonchalant and very encouraging. When you get back to the car, lay on the praise for his remarkable feats of courage.

 

 

 

 

14 Weeks

 

A trip to the beach or some other special place he has never been. Perhaps a trip to the local grade school front lawn whwn all the children are pouring out. Let the kids stop and pet him. Let him see and be in the crowd.

 

 

 

16 Weeks

 

Another trip to town. Your pup's major learning age of his entire life is now over. Hopefully you have given him a very wide range of experiances. If you have done all this faithfully you will have taught him the most important thing of all to learn and it will stay with him the rest of his life, enabling him to continue to learn throughout his lifetime.

 

 

 

17-21 Weeks

This is a bad time to subject your pup to stress, such as plane trips, a stay at the vets, boarding kennel or any threatening situation. Many pups act very fearful at this age. This should be a quiet time in their lives.

 

 

 

 

 

Conditioning to "Come"

This is to teach your pup to come to you without a moments hesitation when he hears the command "Rover Come" Start using this method as soon as you get your pup. It works best when started on very young pups. expect to spend a few moments a day on this for several weeks. This is to build up a conditioned response to the word 'Come' as an sdult. This is how to proceed:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Start out when the pup is in your house very near you, like in the kitchen. Take a small piece of cheese or frankfurter os some suh treat your dog might like. Drop quikly to your knee and call "Rver Come" with lots of enthousiasm. As soon as the pup gets to you, immediatley give him the treat and lots of praise. A few minutes later repeat the process.

On the first day you may do this 4 or 5 times. By the last time you do it he will be coming readily. The next day you do it, don't drop down to your knee, everything else is the same. As he gets better at it do it when he is a bit further away, with everything else the same. As time goes by, you are doing it when he is in the other room. Then try it when you are both in the back yard.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After about 2 or 3 weeks of this, only give him e treat every other time he comes, with lots of praise the other times. Use the treat when you are on one of your outings. Always call him ith, "Rover Come". If he doesn't come on any one of these times, you go get him and bring him back to wher you were when you called him and then praise him. Never let him get away with refusing to come. This is the most important thing you can teach your dog. When you call "Rover Come" he always comes. No exceptions! Use another word or phrase for come when it is not critical. For instance, I use "Rover come here" or some such phrase. This is for everyday life when you call him casually.Use "Rover Come" when it is essential that the dog come to you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Never call your dog to punnish him. If he is bad and needs correction you go get him and give him the correction. If he runs from you, walk him down in silence, staring at him all the time. He will realize it is not a game if you do it silently while staring at him. If you can't get him this way and there is danger of him running away and getting lost, call him to you and praise him and forget the punishment. When using this method of teaching come, don't let the pup know when you have the treat and when you don't. It should be a surprise. As the weeks go by you are doing this 3 or 4 times a week and giving the treat every third time or so, depending on the dogs response. By the time he is 5 or so months old he should be very reliable on the come from any distance that he can hear you from and with distractions. Later when he is taught the formal come of obedience training without treats he will already be conditioned to always come, which could very well someday save his life. This method does not take a lot of effort on your part. It is just a matter of remembering to do it one or two times every day or two. The result is definitely worth the effort.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other things you should be doing with your pup are: Get your pup accustomed to getting a bath while he is still small enough to handle easily. Give him 3 or 4 baths between the ages of 2 and 5 months.

 

 

 

 

 

 

You must keep your dogs nails trimmed. A dog who lives inside and doesn't get his nails trimmed may have damage to his feet from too long nails. Start trimming your pups nailes as soon as you can get him. Trim the nails about every week. If you do this now he will learn to accept it. Wait until he is grown and you will probably have a fight on your hands. Don't put off learning to do your dog's nails. I can't do it because I am afraid I will hurt him, is no excuse. Everyone has to learn sometime. You owe it to your pup to keep his nailes clipped. You will hurt him more by letting it go.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Put your pup on your washer on a towel for grooming sessions. Brush him and clip his nailes. Do this right from the first weeks you get him. Don't let him get out of this by acting up. This is all part of taking care of your dog.

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