|Bringing Gimmick home from Advance, NC|
and Denise Wall's farm
(photo take by Denise Wall)
In terms of socialization, I believe that I am the best person to properly provide those experiences for my puppies (not other dogs or puppies) and give them the best exposure to life. I can monitor and control their behavior by rewarding them for things I want repeated and distracting them or removing them when there are unwanted behaviors.
|Reason at 9 weeks of age|
I am also very careful to not let my puppies run with my older dogs (for the sake of them getting hurt, as their bodies and bones are not yet done growing). Even my adult dogs that are good with puppies are not allowed much time together with the puppy and when they are I am there supervising. Depending on the puppy and how much they are interested in the other dogs, I might start allowing them some time together outside to play, while I am watching. But by then, I know they have a reliable recall. If it appears that my young dogs are ignoring my commands to recall away from the activities or they are being too "doggie", they will lose their privileges. I do not want them to be practicing bad habits of ignoring me or my commands.
|Tack and Reason on the bed|
Teaser on the floor next to the xpen
I like to use an exercise pen (xpen) in the house and motels to keep my young dogs separate from my older dogs. This helps the adjustment between the young and old, helps me to be able to do things in the house and not have to worry about my pup getting into something they shouldn't, and also prevents the pup and the dogs from too much interaction at the start.
In the house or in the motels, I never let my dogs rough house or wrestle or run through the rooms. Many accidents happen indoors and usually when the dogs are tired and just running amok. My young dogs seem to get very active and tend to run wild the most around bedtime - usually 9:30. When they start running like that, they are removed and put back into their xpen. Almost immediately after being confined, they fall fast asleep. This running amok is very similar to what happens with the Border Collies when they are adolescents and are being worked on stock. If they are mentally exhausted (due to the difficult demands and tense pressure situations that stock training involves), they will start doing the same thing - running hard, but with very little thought. That is the time to quit as well.
As my puppy grows up, they are allowed more and more privileges and will be allowed gradual increased freedom. I am also quick to take away privileges and freedom I start to see behavior issues or changes. But my dogs spend most of their puppy hood and adolescent time in an xpen when I am not around or I am busy and unable to watch them. Lots of very good dog trainers struggle with young dogs getting into trouble chewing unwanted items, getting into unwanted areas, eating things they shouldn't eat, grabbing food off of counters and many other bad behaviors because the dog is not constantly supervised. I'm always surprised that performance people are resistant to using more confinement and structured separation with their dogs to minimize these unwanted situations. Because my puppies and adolescents are raised by being confined in an xpen when they are not being supervised, they learn to relax and when they are out they learn to interact with me or just hang out with me. They do not go off looking for trouble (if they do, they lose their privilege of freedom).
|Score at 14 weeks|