Negative emotional responses in young puppies are typically involuntary and are reflexive in nature. Good examples would be growling in response to being bumped by littermates, rough petting, hugging around the neck etc.
Serious breeders take advantage of this time period to classically condition their puppies to change negative responses to positive responses. Puppies in their critical socialization period, eight weeks and younger, can be conditioned to being exposed to annoying stimulus then immediately treating with something desirable to condition them to respond with a pleasant reaction in place of an angry response. This is invaluable when preparing puppies for homes with small children or therapy/service prospects that need to be calm and steady under any type of circumstance.
Each breed is different as far as when they are ready for this but we start conditioning our puppies at around four weeks of age. At this point they would have been eating softened food for about a week and respond well to rewarding them with something amazing tasting, such as pieces of dry cheese, liverwurst or plain yoghurt.
We have made a list of the most common annoyances that puppies will encounter in their future life and go through these with each puppy every day. It's amazing to see the changes in reactions over the course of the first week, going from annoyed to happily looking for a treat, showing a complete transformation of reaction.
Above is a video produced by "Puppy Culture" director, Jane Killion, going into more detail as to why this is such an important building block in your puppy's socialization.
Questions about our training program? Click on our "Socialization Program With Trainers" link to see the other beneficial things that we will be teaching your new puppy. Important lessons that will last a lifetime!
Contact Janet: 417-207-5346
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