While I know that we are all extremely cute and cuddly as pups, there is more to life people than just oohing and ahhhing over that new bundle of joy you brought home. I was as cute as a button when they brought me home, but that didn’t mean there weren’t things to learn and rules to follow. Even giving me a tough moniker like “Spike” did not excuse me from packing my lunch box and heading off to puppy preschool.
Puppies learn from each other and from their mother almost from the time they are born. As tiny toddling puppies we canines learn basic doggy body language and how to interact with each other. Our mother scolds us and gives corrections when we get out of line. We quickly learn to read what she is telling us even though we do not speak using words. Biting our siblings and getting bitten in return teach us what is considered playfulness and what is unacceptable. These are powerful learning tools that we carry with us all of our lives.
Once we pups leave the “nest” at around 8 weeks of age, the need for this socialization and education does not come to a halt. In order to have a balanced dog that understands other dogs and acts like a canine, the power learning needs to continue. Our little brains are like sponges at this time and absorb lifes lessons easily and quickly. It is up to our humans to make sure we are learning the correct way to do things. What may seem cute now, like chewing on the pants leg of your pajamas, won’t be so amusing when I’m a 90 pound teenager.
Many times I have heard new friends being described by their owners with phrases such as “oh she just doesn’t play well with others”, or “he doesn’t like big dogs”, or “she really hates small dogs”. When my peeps are brought to puppy preschool and further educational classes, these issues simply never come up in their lifetime. We start out with great socialization from our mom and our siblings, and as long as the people in our lives continue it, we turn out just fine.
There are some issues that most of us dogs tend to put our owners through at an early age. Play nipping at hands, squirming when being brushed and potty training are areas that many of us and our people need some help with. If started early, we quickly learn that there are boundaries, and things like routine grooming become a normal part of our life. To learn more about ensuring your new pup continues the socialization started in their first weeks, and how to teach basic commands and be a confident leader for your new family member, please contact us for more information.