Between about three to twelve weeks is a crucial period in the mental development and behavioral adjustment of a puppy, when it is of utmost importance for you to ensure that:
- He is not subjected to any traumatic experience;
- He is gently exposed to friendly humans of all kind (male, female, children, bearded, clad in pants, saree, even naked);
- He is taken out for a walk;
- He is encouraged to meet all kind of non-aggressive animals (other dogs, cats, horses, hens, ducks);
- He is taken for rides in the car;
- He is introduced to various sounds, different voices, and a variety of noise.
- He is given various types of toys to experiment with.
- He is given an opportunity to walk on various types of surfaces.
This time-frame cannot be ignored, because it will never be repeated, and socialization cannot be left for later. It is detrimental to your puppy for a vet to advise you not to take him out until the vaccination course is over. A puppy cannot be socialized as required by being confined at home, and by the time the vaccination course is over, it is far too late to make amends. Many puppies grow up into neurotic dogs because the owner has failed to socialize them at the right age. Such dogs are maladjusted, nervous or fear-biters. They do not enjoy life, and are impossible to train because they are simply too fearful of life and everything around them. Lack of socialization within the given age creates permanent damage.
If you are afraid of your young puppy contracting disease when you take him out, carry him into a car and take him for a drive. Take him to areas where he can meet other vaccinated dogs and socialize with them. If he can go without risk to a vet’s clinic (where several sick dogs visit), surely he can safely go outdoors, too.
What they say …. (excerpt from a book)
(What follows is only a small selection from just one book. There is not a single book on dog behavior, training or rearing which does not say almost the same thing. The importance of socialization is not merely the fad of a few authors, but now a universally accepted fact, which you may disregard only at your own cost).
Unfortunately many vets are either unaware of this, or too old-fashioned to acknowledge it.
Shelby Marlo’s New Art of Dog Training
– Shelby Marlo & Taura S. Mizrahi (Contemporary Books):
Studies show dogs need to be exposed to as many novel things, beings, and places as possible within the first few months of their lives. The first twelve weeks of a dog’s life are truly the most formative. During this three-month period, the puppy learns about the world in which he lives. Failure to socialize your dog during this very crucial window of time could create future behavioral problems such as fear of anything or anyone the dog encounters or, even worse, biting. Don’t forget: fear is very difficult to overcome and train through. It is imperative to introduce the puppy to as many different people, animals, objects, and places as possible during these first crucial weeks rather than isolating him in the microcosm of your home.