Over the course of the Puppy Starlet class, we will discuss many aspects of puppy raising, including socialization, obedience, puppy care, and management techniques.
Proper socialization is the key to ensuring your puppy is confident and well adjusted for life. You have a very brief widow, from 2-6 months, to take advantage of the brief “Socialization Period” that Mother Nature has given you. During that time, it is of the utmost importance that your puppy has as many short, positive, experiences possible.
Obedience is important at all stages, however, what and who they are exposed to during the socialization period defines who they are much more than the obedience commands you teach them! Behavior issues such as fear, reactivity (e.g. barking & lunging), & anxiety are almost always a result of inadequate socialization during the Socialization Period, not from a lack of obedience. We use obedience to aid in training bad behavior once it has started, but proper socialization between 2-6 months can prevent the behavior form starting! In our society, we tend to overemphasize the obedience, and neglect adequate socialization. You have their entire life to teach them obedience, but only a brief few months to socialize them. Seize this opportunity now, before it passes!
Take this time to socialize your puppy with as many sights, smells, sounds, and surfaces as possible. However, we must be mindful that our puppies are going in and out of fear periods during the first few months of their lives. Keep socialization short and always positive. Use treats and play to make it fun! It is of the utmost importance to refrain from forcing your puppy into something if they are showing fear. If a puppy is forced to do something when they are in a fearful state of mind, force will only serve to make that fear more intense. If your puppy shows fear, you can try to use play to turn it into a positive experience. However, if the fear is too great to be overcome with play, take a break and revisit the activity in a couple weeks. If they are “forced to confront their fears” during fear periods, they are likely to be fearful their entire lives. In a couple weeks, your puppy may be over their fear period and, almost like magic, the thing that once caused them fear doesn’t anymore!
Management is the other key to successful puppy raising. Successfully preventing a puppy from practicing bad behavior in the first 6 months of life can stop bad behavior from ever starting! If a puppy is prevented from rehearsing a bad behavior before 6 months of age, they are highly unlikely to start it later in life. For instance, puppies that are prevented from chewing things in the house between 2-6 months of age generally won’t start that behavior after 6 months as long as they have never rehearsed it previously. It’s similar to the way human babies grow out of putting things in their mouth. The key is preventing it from starting, and we will help you with that through our Puppy Starlet Course!
It is important to acknowledge that successful dog training requires an owner’s active participation. We will provide you with education, resources, practical skills, as well as how to apply these skills to help you train your dog. However, owner’s must be consistent in carrying out the agreed upon training plan in its entirety, for the greatest success.