For most animals, their default reaction to the unknown is fear. With puppies, we can easily turn this fear of the unknown into cautious curiosity as an adult. Cautious curiosity is the default strategy of a well socialized dog when confronted by new people and things.
Dogs are not born friendly to humans, but they are born to become friendly to people.
This happens only if they meet friendly people while they are very young puppies.
Exposure to both people and man-made environments must happen in a gentle, positive and gradual way in order for a dog to cope with living in our human world. A dog’s most critical period for learning these coping strategies -- and forming a positive attitude to people and the world -- is from 3 to 12 weeks of age.
Preferences regarding who to approach and who to avoid are set early. Adult dogs prefer people who look like people they knew to be friendly when they were very young puppies. That is why it is so important to gently and kindly introduce puppies to a wide selection of people. At 12 weeks, puppies start avoiding types of people and objects they haven’t met before.
It seems that dogs who fail to develop both the knowledge of a lot of things and people, and the coping strategies to respond to new things and people are very susceptible to developing anxieties and fears. They tend to avoid new things and people and can become aggressive when confronted by them. They simply cannot cope.
Based on this scientific research, breeders and new puppy owners are now encouraged to expose their puppies to an environment rich in new people and experiences before they are 12 weeks old.
Delightful Dog’s Nursery Day Program is specifically designed to provide a socialization and enrichment curriculum that will encourage the development of a well balanced and well socialized dog. A dog who will respond to new people and things with confidence and a cautious curiosity.
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