Puppy Socialisation and Habituation (Part 2) How to go about it

Friday 17th May 2013 @ 1:33 AM. (NZST)

Puppy Socialisation and Habituation (Part 2) How to go about it

Friday 17th May 2013 @ 1:33 AM. (NZST)

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Having looked at the theoretical aspects of early socialisation and habituation in Part 1 what are the actual mechanics required to achieve it?

Instead of socialisation and habituation being a haphazard affair with experiences occurring at random, as is so often the case, the puppy's exposure to environmental stimuli should be as systematic as possible to ensure the best chance of it developing a sound temperament and capacity to cope in all circumstances. A lot of responsibility lies with the breeder. Of course, it is the breeder who selects the genetic make-up of a dam and sire best suited to produce puppies of good temperament. Having said this, it is not known what percentage of a dog's, or even a human's, temperament is determined by environmental influences. The breeder's role continues the moment a puppy is born, as it starts to get used to being handled and to the breeder's scent. The routines that are normally used to assist in whelping are enough to accomplish this, much more may distress the bitch. As the puppy and its litter mates group up, the breeder should increase the amount of interaction the puppies have with them and other people. If the breeder is a woman, for example, and she is the exclusive, or almost exclusive human contact the puppies have, they are likely to be less well adjusted towards men and children. It is sensible therefore, to invite men and children into the household to see and handle the puppies, particularly if the puppies remain with the breeder after they are six weeks old. It is, of course, important that the veterinary surgeon's advice on hygiene procedures is sought.

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