Socialization Period (5-16 weeks). Succinctly put, socialization is critical to the success of a Weimaraner puppy. Done correctly, it reduces the number of things in the world that a Weimaraner puppy might be frightened of and it continually provides the experience of first being afraid of something, but then recovering from it. This “bounce-back” is one of the most valuable traits anyone can “teach” a dog. And, the more a puppy recovers, the less it’s afraid of things. Some of the things we’re doing this week is exposing puppies to smells, textures, surfaces, sounds, vibrations, tastes and sights. And, the more strangers we can introduce, the better. Dogs have very acute hearing and must learn to ignore the thousands of sounds that don’t affect it and learn to concentrate on those that impact its life. Undersocialized dogs are shy, fearful, become defensive, discriminate threats inappropriately, and may even bite out of fear (expecting and nursing mothers don’t count :)). One last note on socialization: This is an ongoing process for the life of the dog; don’t stop after 16 weeks.
Curiosity Period (5-7 weeks). During this time, puppies are curious about EVERYTHING – they want to climb, crawl, investigate and taste EVERYTHING. They have a very little sense of fear (which is also why socialization is good at this time!) and will approach and investigate anything and everything. Their increased motor skills and mobility helps. This is the week to introduce scarier things: strangers, tunnels, boxes,water, and other stuff puppies can climb over or crawl through.
Barrett puppies. Below are just a few of things the 2014 Torque x Friday puppies are getting this week:
Housebreaking. This is the week housebreaking becomes solid – puppies have really learned that they don’t want to soil their sleeping, eating and playing areas, and will go out of their way to potty somewhere else. Given the appropriate encouragement, like stuffing their bedding area with blankets, and always giving them access to “another spot outside” really seals the housebreaking process.
Connecting. This is also the time to make eye contact with, and pick up and hold puppies, several times a day.
Isolating. Puppies are getting out of the house “by themselves” because time away from their littermates is good for them.
Monkey in the shopping cart at Lowe’s.
Trips outside the house. Because getting some new experiences in is good for them, too.
Monkey in the car. What a handsome man.
Table stacking. For me, it’s a good way to see puppy structure. For the puppies who will eventually make it into the show ring, it’s a good introduction to both hand stacking and free stacking.
- Food motivation/rewards. As I work with puppies on a one-on-one basis, I’m trading them little treats for doing what I want them to do. Officially, this is the start of puppy training. Lesson one: Come to me when I want you to and you will get something good to eat.
More next week!