The world can be a scary place for us and our dogs.
It’s up to you, as your dog’s leader, coach and bestie to expose him/her to different environments while having positive experiences in those new situations.
Between 6-16 weeks is a CRITICAL developmental stage in which your pup is a sponge and should be brought out to experience the world in a safe and fun way.
Please do not wait until after 16 weeks, until their last set of shots for exposure. You are missing a window of opportunity you will never get back.
A great podcast to listen more in depth about this topic is @thecanineparadigm episode 57: It’s Me Isn’t It?
Be safe and smart. Don’t go to dog parks or human parks with high volume dogs around.
Do go to stores, parking lots, work on different textures, with construction around, with different people around than what your home environment provides…the more positive exposures the better.
You’re creating a well adjusted pup who with continued training and bonding with you, should develop into a confident dog you can take anywhere.
Isn’t that what we all want?
Take your time when venturing out. Don’t rush the process. Start at a distance from scarier things. And step up to tell people no, they can’t approach your dog if they are acting nervous or over excited. And sometimes let them – especially if it’s a new type of person, when they are being calmer and collected.
We typically begin on a retractable or a harness to not de-sensitive their neck and we can work on a tiny bit of leash communication from the start with the retractable by locking it if they venture too far and then marking it when they step back to us, unlocking the retractable.
Most puppies don’t venture too far anyways, but you avoid the risk of a 6 foot leash and a dog putting the breaks on or being nervous and hitting the end spooked.
What is your favorite place to take your pup out?