Socialization ~ A Must!
Socializing puppies must include pleasant experiences with unknown dogs, surfaces, places, and anything that your puppy is going to experience as an adult.
Why do so many dogs end up in shelters?
Behavioral problems. The greatest cause of death in dogs under the age of three is because of the dogs behavior. Early socialization is a MUST.
"... development of a confident, emotionally competent animal depends not only on the new owner and trainer, but on the environment of the breeder." Dr. Joy Pate (Penn State University)
Neo-natal Periods (Birth to 14 days)
Puppies receive ENS training from day six to sixteen. The ENS program was developed by the US Military as part of their “bio-sensor” or “super puppy” program. The Immediate and lifelong physiological results of using this program are:
1. Improved cardiovascular performance (heart rate)
2. Stronger heartbeats
3. Stronger adrenal glands
4. More tolerance to stress
5. Greater resistance to disease
Once all eyes and ears are open, toys are introduced and a wee pad is placed in a corner of the box to begin the process of training them to have a "potty spot".
A TV is on in the background to begin to de-sensitize them to loud and sudden sounds; i.e. thunder, gun fire, traffic noise and so on. By day 21, all of the puppy's senses are intact.
Socialization Period (5 - 12 weeks)
Continuing the one on one handling of each puppy gets them used to having their ears, feet and mouth examined and/or touched.
This prepares them for future nail trimming, ear cleaning, and teeth brushing. They also get their first bath during this week.
A shallow bowl of water is introduced in preparation for the weaning process to come.
Transitional Period (2 - 4 weeks)
As Breeders, we are committed to the early socialization of our puppies to provide a solid building block for you to continue the process after you take your puppy home. We commit to provide positive experiences for our litters; experiences that include car rides, veterinary visits, cats, children, and other dogs. Our goal is to maximize the potential of every puppy in each litter through stimulating it's learning ability, interests and natural instincts.
The introduction of different textures and sounds begins by providing "toys" with variations of sounds, touch and smells.Puppies are introduced to our "grooming table" and outdoor shower where continued "response and reward" training will be done. The puppies are introduced to visiting grandchildren under close supervision. Between 4 and 5 weeks, the litter begins to spend some portion of each day outside. The litter exits from our kitchen down a ramp into our Puppy Paddock. Foreverlawn K9 Grass provides a safe and healthy foundation for their play while concrete and kennel decking get them used to different surfaces. The paddock contains a sink, and grooming table, a shower head and "pool" for water play.
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Learning through Play
Learning from Older Dogs
The Dams and the Sire spend time socializing the litter outside and when it is permitted by the Dam, the older females and males will also help to socialize. During this time, the puppies learn important socialization skills like how to read the body language of another dog, bite inhibition and so on. This exposure to each dog in our pack translates to puppies who are not afraid of other dogs and who have begun the process of learning appropriate social behavior.
Puppy Assessment Testing (PAT):
We do assess our puppies prior to guiding the puppy pick out process; however, it is important to understand what this acutally means. In a recent study, early temperament tests were found have little or no ability to predict any adult personality trait with reliability; with the exception of exploratory behavior. Research shows that it is very difficult to fully predict the future behavior of a dog. Many puppy aptitude and personality tests have been developed, but to date, they mainly provide guidelines rather than guarantees. Personality can change over time. What you do with the puppy you take home will have a high impact on who they ultimately turn out to be.
Juvenile Period (70 days and older) - FOREVER HOMES!
This is where you take over.
This is also when the puppy learns "fear". From 8 - 14 weeks, it is very important that you continue to introduce your puppy to new things.
Socialization is a life-long process.
The more your Labrador experiences of life at your side, the better companion you will have!