SOCIALIZATION PROGRAM OF OUR AUSTRALIAN LABRADOODLES

Were you aware of the fact that only 15% –20% of our dogs’ beha­vior is gene­tic? More than 80% is affec­ted by the impact of socia­li­za­tion — that is, sti­muli which were pre­sen­ted to the pup­pies in a cri­ti­cal period of deve­lop­ment (up to about 12–18 weeks of age).
From the first day of birth, an ama­zing pro­cess takes place in the brain — the for­ma­tion of con­nec­tions between brain cells. Never before and never again these con­nec­tions will be for­med with such a speed.
Too much of sti­mu­lus, (or lack of them) will affect the future life of your dog as an adult.
Weather he/she will be fear­ful, aggres­sive, have dif­fe­rent types of pho­bias, OR weather he/she will be susta­ina­ble, self-confident — depends from the events that take place during the cri­ti­cal period of development.

The­re­fore, we pay a major con­cern for what, and how do we do with the pup­pies in the cer­tain periods of their lives. In various sta­ges of deve­lop­ment pup­pies are sen­si­tive to dif­fe­rent sti­muli. When they come into the world the only func­tio­ning sen­ses are: ther­mal, touch, smell. There is no point in tuning them to audi­tory and visual sti­muli (their eyes and ears are clo­sed). Howe­ver in that first period, we can alre­ady work for their development.

PRENATAL PERIOD (from conception-to the birth)

During this period pups are still in the ute­rus, howe­ver some­what in 45-th day of pre­gnancy they are alre­ady sen­si­tive to touch. Our gen­tle touch of bitch’s belly (if she likes it of course) is very impor­tant for the pro­per deve­lop­ment of pup­pies in the womb. In the 3rd tri­me­ster of pre­gnancy stress suf­fe­red by the bitch has a nega­tive effect on the unborn pup­pies. We sho­uld never take bit­ches in pla­ces where there is a high pro­ba­bi­lity that she will not feel com­for­ta­ble. During this period, it is essen­tial to sup­port her with secure place and plenty, plenty of endor­phins, that are rele­ased under the influ­ence of expe­rien­cing ple­asu­ra­ble sen­sa­tions. Those affect direc­tly deve­lo­ping fetuses.

puppy in the womb

puppy in the womb

When our fema­les are pre­gnant we do not intro­duce any chan­ges in the envi­ron­ment, eve­ry­thing stays the same. We do not have exci­ting family meetings. We make sure the envi­ron­ment is peace­ful, we do lots of snif­fing walks. We do not show our fema­les to friends to cele­brate gro­wing belly. We do not prac­tice an ultra­so­und to con­firm the num­ber of pup­pies (unless there would be a dan­ger of their heal­thy gro­wing), or satisfy our curio­sity. Even few minu­tes the stress con­nec­ted to sha­ving tummy, apply­ing cold gel can affect deve­lo­ping fetu­ses. We are patien­tly waiting .… until the right time comes.

Labradoodle Caramel & Onyxe sleep

Labra­do­odle Cara­mel & Onyxe sleep

Labradoodle Caramel & Onyxe, waiting for the litter

Labra­do­odle Cara­mel & Onyxe, waiting for the litter

Labradoodle Caramel & Onyxe

Labra­do­odle Cara­mel & Onyxe

Labradoodle Caramel

Labra­do­odle Caramel

NEONATAL PHASE (from birth to about two weeks of age (an eye-opening moment))
Pup­pies are born with eyes and ears clo­sed. Stu­dies have shown, howe­ver, that despite of such imma­tu­rity and asso­cia­ted restric­tions pup­pies are extre­mely sen­si­tive to ther­mal sti­muli and tac­tile motion. The­re­fore, in this stage of life we can alre­ady work on Early Neu­ro­lo­gi­cal Sti­mu­la­tion. What is it?

ENS is a set of five exer­ci­ses (puppy with head up, head down, puppy on his back, tic­kling feet, , puppy on a cold towel). All exer­ci­ses can be done at max 5 seconds each.
Because the risk of over-stimulating pup­pies is high I recom­mend first time bre­eders to prac­tice on a toy first. Sti­mu­la­tion seems easy but from my obse­rva­tion in ine­xpe­rien­ced hands time of each exer­cise extends too much. Too many sti­mu­lus during this period will affect fur­ther deve­lop­ment of pup­pies in a nega­tive way. It is easy to cross the thin line of five seconds hence I recom­mend doing the exer­ci­ses for three seconds each.

Labradoodle, head up

Labra­do­odle, head up

Labradoodle, head down

Labra­do­odle, head down

Labradoodle, tickling

Labra­do­odle, tickling

Labradoodle, on the back

Labra­do­odle, on the back

Labradoodle, thermal stimulation

Labra­do­odle, ther­mal stimulation

Pro­perly done Early Neu­ro­lo­gi­cal Sti­mu­la­tion brings the fol­lo­wing benefits:

1. Impro­ves heart ves­sels’ func­tions
2. Streng­thens the car­dio­va­scu­lar sys­tem
3. Streng­thens glands pro­du­cing adre­na­line
4. Impro­ves resi­stance to stress
5. Impro­ves resi­stance to dise­ases.
As zoo­p­sy­cho­lo­gist (ani­mal psychologist)I help Polish bre­eders to socia­lize their lit­ters, and I carry out tem­pe­ra­ment tests of pup­pies. I base not only on the results of stu­dies and expe­ri­ments car­ried out by spe­cia­li­zed orga­ni­za­tions, but also my own obse­rva­tions of lit­ters socia­li­zed in polish ken­nels. My conc­lu­sion is that well-conducted neu­ro­lo­gi­cal sti­mu­la­tion brings far-reaching bene­fits for the deve­lop­ment of the nervous sys­tem of pup­pies. Pup­pies that were sub­ject of the sti­mu­lus are more active and explo­ring than those that were not sub­jec­ted to sti­mu­la­tion. The desire to explore is direc­tly rela­ted to the fact that pup­pies expe­rience a lot. While gaining expe­rience cre­atu­res cre­ate strong pic­tu­res of their future “I”.

What if the “not” early neu­ro­lo­gi­cal sti­mu­la­tion? In case of ine­xpe­rien­ced bre­eders I recom­mend han­ding, gen­tly stro­king (posi­tive touch) during daily acti­vi­ties such as weighing. Pup­pies alre­ady in this stage of life must undergo sti­mu­la­tion. Widely so I enco­urage you to tac­tile sti­mu­la­tion, but you have to remem­ber that you must not overdo it. Over-stimulation can bring the oppo­site effect to the one desi­red.
During this period, pup­pies excre­tory pro­ces­ses are gover­ned mainly by the mother. She licks their bel­lies to sti­mu­late bowel move­ments – this future posi­tion “on back” is one of the stron­gest cal­ming signals and sub­mis­sive posture.

TRANSITION PHASE (from two weeks to go about 21 days — the moment of ope­ning the ears)

During this period, eyes open. Wecan slowly intro­duce visual stimuli.

Labradoodle  sight stimulation

Labra­do­odle sight stimulation

Labradoodle sight stimulation

Labra­do­odle sight stimulation

Up to 16 days of age, early neu­ro­lo­gi­cal sti­mu­la­tion is still con­ti­nued. We do not intro­duce other sti­muli at once. After 16 days of age when the sti­mu­la­tion is com­ple­ted in our Austra­lian Labra­do­odle ken­nel we intro­duce ano­ther kind of touch — mas­sage (in par­ti­cu­lar Shan­tal mas­sage). My expe­rience has shown that pup­pies focu­sed on the kind of touch, appro­ach stress­ful situ­ations in more rela­xed way. The body is tense due to muscle ten­sion in stress­ful situ­ations. Rela­xed musc­les means rela­xed body. As zoo­p­sy­cho­lo­gist in the the­rapy of fear­ful dogs (or the one with pho­bias) I use mas­sage as addi­tio­nal the­rapy. When you do this mas­sage tra­ining is easier, because dog’s musc­les are rela­xed.
So why not take an advan­tage of it at such an early stage of life of young puppies?

In the ani­mal world, the first thing that bitch does when her youngs are born, is lic­king them from heads to toes. Her ton­gue pro­vi­des an ini­tial pic­ture in the brain of puppy him­self. In addi­tion, if the lit­ter couple pup­pies is born they con­stan­tly rub aga­inst each other, try­ing first steps, every mil­li­me­ter of their bodies absorb fur­ther know­ledge about what they are and how they func­tion. This enhan­ces the for­ma­tion of their ove­rall self-image ”

quoted Ruthy Alon

Here are pho­tos and video with mas­sage performed.

Labradoodle Shantal massage

Labra­do­odle Shan­tal massage

Labradoodle Shantal massage

Labra­do­odle Shan­tal massage

Labradoodle Shantal side massage

Labra­do­odle Shan­tal side massage

Labradoodle Shantal massage

Labra­do­odle Shan­tal massage

Labradoodle Shantal massage

Labra­do­odle Shan­tal massage

Labradoodle Shantal foot massage

Labra­do­odle Shan­tal foot massage

Labradoodle Shantal foot massage

Labra­do­odle Shan­tal foot massage

Labradoodle Shantal chest massage

Labra­do­odle Shan­tal chest massage

Labradoodle Shantal belly massage

Labra­do­odle Shan­tal belly massage

Labradoodle Shantal belly massage

Labra­do­odle Shan­tal belly massage

Labradoodle Shantal belly massage

Labra­do­odle Shan­tal belly massage

Labradoodle Shantal back massage

Labra­do­odle Shan­tal back massage

During each ses­sion we play the CD (pup­pies only hear sounds when they open the ears) with sounds of pre­na­tal envi­ron­ment that rela­xes puppies.

How does the mas­sage work?

It soothes, rela­xes musc­les, builds posi­tive rela­tion­ship between the owner and his dog, puppy reco­gni­zes it as the first safe human touch. Mas­sage has many other advan­ta­ges, depen­ding on which part of the body is massaged:

- Chest Mas­sage: posi­tive effect on the work of the lungs, sti­mu­la­tion of the heart, sti­mu­la­tes cir­cu­la­tion, rela­xes
– Abdo­mi­nal mas­sage: sti­mu­la­tes dige­stion, impro­ves the ope­ra­tion of the large inte­stine
–Mas­sage of fore limb: eli­mi­na­tes muscu­lar ten­sion, rela­xes joints, sti­mu­la­tes cir­cu­la­tion, rela­xes
– Mas­sage of hind limb: eli­mi­na­tes ten­sion, loosens the joints, sti­mu­la­tes cir­cu­la­tion, streng­thens bones,
– Mas­sage the spine + tail: to streng­then the back musc­les, redu­ces ten­sion in the neck, back and rump, rela­xa­tion
– Mas­sage of muz­zle + ears: rele­ases ten­sion, incre­ases the blood cir­cu­la­tion, redu­ces heada­ches, soothes, relaxes

During this period, we intro­duce smell sti­muli as well — smells col­lec­ted in bot­tles. Fra­gran­ces of ani­mals, nature, objects, strange odors.

fragrances

fra­gran­ces

fragrances

fra­gran­ces

SOCIALIZATION PHASE (from 3 weeks of age to about 12 weeks)
It is my per­so­nal favo­rite. So much is hap­pe­ning during that period and there is so much you can write on the blank she­ets of paper of the puppy’s brain.
During this period all of the sti­muli (quan­tity and quality of them), that will be pre­sen­ted to the pup­pies will have an impact on their later life. Poor envi­ron­ment – lack of sti­muli will affect pup­pies as well. We need to be aware of the fact that future tem­pe­ra­ment and beha­vio­ral issues lay in our hands – in the hands of bre­eder and the future owner.
Accor­din­gly to some sour­ces, socia­li­za­tion fini­shes at 12 weeks of age. Howe­ver, long-term study of etho­lo­gi­sts (e.g.Raymond Cop­pin­ger) con­firm that this period may have dif­fe­rent leng­ths — depen­ding on the breed. In bre­eds such as Ger­man She­pherds socia­li­za­tion period is shor­ter than 12 weeks, while in bre­eds as Labra­dors — lon­ger and it may extend even up to 18 weeks. Well, how do we know when this period is over then? Appa­ren­tly it’s a lot easier than you might think.
Each dog goes thru four fear periods. Each of that periods lasts for about two weeks. During that time our dog begins to behave stran­gely. He could be afraid of things that he has never been afraid of ( such as shuf­fling chair). This is nor­mal stage of deve­lop­ment — appe­ars and disap­pe­ars on its own, if the fear is not rein­for­ced by the owner. Periods of anxiety appear at: about 8 weeks, about 12–18 weeks, about eight mon­ths and about 13 mon­ths of age. When your puppy expe­rien­ces second period of fear it means that the socia­li­za­tion period is over. From my expe­rience, the Austra­lian Labra­do­odle socia­li­za­tion period lasts until about 16 weeks of age.

During that period it is impor­tant that the dog learns to what spe­cies it belongs as well as the spe­cies with which he will share the future life.
It is very impor­tant that the puppy is intro­du­ced to a variety of situ­ations that he may enco­un­ter in the future.
What are we doing in our Ken­nel when pup­pies enter socia­li­za­tion phase:
1. Pup­pies open ears and begin to react to dif­fe­rent sounds. During this period, we intro­duce the first sounds. BUT! The first sounds they hear are the sounds of pre­na­tal life. Some­thing they have alre­ady heard! The sound of the amnio­tic fluid and mother’s heart­beat is being played on a spe­cially desi­gned CD. The first sounds they hear are alre­ady fami­liar to them. So we intro­duce them into our world peace­fully – they have to asso­ciate our place with safe place.
Then we intro­duce other various sounds from the CD. These inc­lude: vacuum cle­aner, trucks, heli­cop­ters, shots, bar­king dogs, clap­ping hands of people, hair-dryer, how­ling wolves, train, tram, cry­ing babies, ambu­lance, police, fire bri­gade, washing machine, mixers, storm, fire­works… and much, much more. CD’s alto­ge­ther inc­lude more than 200 sounds.
Of course it is only for the start as sounds on the CD will never replace a real sti­mu­lus object, which in addi­tion to giving cer­tain sounds, has a spe­ci­fic size and moves. With that we deal later on.
Note: The CD first has to be played very quie­tly, gra­du­ally tur­ning the volume up other­wise the dog will be sca­red and that will deve­lop into fear of noises.

Pre­na­tal songs

Prenatal songs CD

Pre­na­tal songs CD

Prenatal songs

Pre­na­tal songs

Other sounds:

CD sounds

CD sounds

Sounds CD

Sounds CD

Sounds CD

Sounds CD

2. Mas­sage. We con­ti­nue gen­tle mas­sage of the whole body thru all socia­li­za­tion period while pup­pies are with us. See pic­tu­res and video above

3. In that par­ti­cu­lar period pup­pies sho­uld meet a lot of dif­fe­rent people. Diver­sity is impor­tant. You have to keep in mind that dog does not gene­ra­lize that all people belong to one spe­cie – HUMAN. For them infants, chil­dren, teena­gers, boys, girls, man, woman, old woman with a cane, a man with glas­ses, a man with a beard, a poli­ce­man, a post­man, a priest — all repre­sen­ta­ti­ves of dif­fe­rent spe­cies. All these people sho­uld be intro­du­ced to the puppy during this period. Now, do you know why dogs bark at post offi­cers?
See below how we intro­duce pup­pies to dif­fe­rent people.
The same rule applies to the tone of voice. Dogs reco­gnize high tones as an exci­ting, invi­ting voice while low tones as aggres­sive tones(which is why many dogs are afraid of male voices, or feel more submissive)

Labradoodle, baby

Labra­do­odle, baby

Labradoodle,man

Labradoodle,man

Labradoodle, woman

Labra­do­odle, woman

Labradoodle, woman

Labra­do­odle, woman

Labradoodle, woman

Labra­do­odle, woman

Labradoodle, woman

Labra­do­odle, woman

Labradoodle, tall man

Labra­do­odle, tall man

Labradoodle, sleeping

Labra­do­odle, sleeping

labradoodle, santa

labra­do­odle, santa

Labradoodle, santa, mask

Labra­do­odle, santa, mask

Labradoodle, santa in mask

Labra­do­odle, santa in mask

Labradoodle, safe children

Labra­do­odle, safe children

Labradoodle, safe children, man

Labra­do­odle, safe chil­dren, man

Labradoodle, safe children, little santa

Labra­do­odle, safe chil­dren, lit­tle santa

Labradoodle, I can do the same

Labra­do­odle, I can do the same

Labradoodle, christmass

Labra­do­odle, christmass

Labradoodle, child

Labra­do­odle, child

Labradoodle, brunets

Labra­do­odle, brunets

Labradoodle, boy

Labra­do­odle, boy

Labradoodle, blonds

Labra­do­odle, blonds

Labradoodle, baby

Labra­do­odle, baby

Labradoodle, baby

Labra­do­odle, baby

Labradoodle, people

Labra­do­odle, people

Labradoodle, man

Labra­do­odle, man

Labradoodle, people play

Labra­do­odle, people play

Labradoodle, different people

Labra­do­odle, dif­fe­rent people

4. Dif­fe­rent dogs and other ani­mals. Pup­pies sho­uld be set to the con­tact with other adult dogs and pup­pies. Dogs in the ken­nel do not mat­ter, because puppy tre­ats them as a part of his flock. The most impor­tant is con­tact with other dogs. Howe­ver — these dogs must be safe. The bre­eder must pay an atten­tion and read the signals that both send — adult dog and puppy. Only this way puppy learns that other dogs are safe. Con­ti­nu­ation of those safe meetings with the owner is very impor­tant. Con­tact must be safe and must not be inter­rup­ted at the time when the puppy does not yet feel con­fi­dent. That would streng­then its uncer­ta­inty, which may lead to the fear of other dogs.

Labradoodle, hamster

Labra­do­odle, hamster

Labradoodle, hamster

Labra­do­odle, hamster

Labradoodles and labrador

Labra­do­odles and labrador

Labradoodle, other dogs

Labra­do­odle, other dogs

Labradoodle, horse

Labra­do­odle, horse

Labradoodle and hamster

Labra­do­odle and hamster

Labradoodle and dogs

Labra­do­odle and dogs

Labradoodle and dogs

Labra­do­odle and dogs

Labradoodle,  other dogs

Labra­do­odle, other dogs

Labradoodle pups, horse

Labra­do­odle pups, horse

Labradoodles and other dogs

Labra­do­odles and other dogs

Labradoodles and other dogs

Labra­do­odles and other dogs

Labradoodles and other dog

Labra­do­odles and other dog

5. Various flo­ors. In accor­dance with the prin­ci­ple of the gol­den twe­lve of Mar­ga­ret Hughes –until the end of 12 weeks, dogs sho­uld stand on 12 dif­fe­rent sur­fa­ces. We build tra­ils, which are com­po­sed of a variety of sub­stra­tes. Puppy needs to go thro­ugh all of them. Of course on the way they will find nice tre­ats. Apart from that we take them to dif­fe­rent envi­ron­ment where they can explore dif­fe­rent sur­fa­ces as well.

Labradoodle, brick

Labra­do­odle, brick

Labradoodle, tiles

Labra­do­odle, tiles

Labradoodle, stones

Labra­do­odle, stones

Labradoodle, stones

Labra­do­odle, stones

Labradoodle, stinging wiper

Labra­do­odle, stin­ging wiper

Labradoodle, snow

Labra­do­odle, snow

Labradoodle, rustling thing

Labra­do­odle, rustling thing

Labradoodle, roof

Labra­do­odle, roof

Labradoodle, path

Labra­do­odle, path

Labradoodle, metal

Labra­do­odle, metal

Labradoodle, linen bag

Labra­do­odle, linen bag

Labradoodle, ice

Labra­do­odle, ice

Labradoodle, grass

Labra­do­odle, grass

Labradoodle, fleece

Labra­do­odle, fleece

Labradoodle, edu path

Labra­do­odle, edu path

Labradoodle, corrugated

Labra­do­odle, corrugated

Labradoodle, cardboard

Labra­do­odle, cardboard

6. We start tra­ining our pup­pies at the age of 6 weeks. Sit, lie down, high five. Why do we do it for? Pup­pies alre­ady learn the rules of posi­tive tra­ining, they learn that it is nice to work with people. When they go to the tra­ining with the new owners they alre­ady know the rules, so wor­king with them is easier and more enjoy­able. They are more focu­sed on the leader. Pup­pies also prac­tice agi­lity trail. Eve­ry­thing we do is in the form of fun. Agi­lity trail must be howe­ver done slowly with pre­ci­sion – not for the speed. Speed incre­ases adre­na­line, which needs up to one week to fall to an accep­ta­ble level. Not brin­ging it down will cause your dog to be hyperactive.

AGILITY:

Agility field

Agi­lity field

Labradoodle wheel

Labra­do­odle wheel

Labradoodle tunnel

Labra­do­odle tunnel

Labradoodle tunel

Labra­do­odle tunel

Labradoodle slaloming

Labra­do­odle slaloming

Labradoodle slalom

Labra­do­odle slalom

Labradoodle slalom.

Labra­do­odle slalom.

Labradoodle hopa

Labra­do­odle hopa

Labradoodle hoop

Labra­do­odle hoop

Labradoodle come

Labra­do­odle come

Labradoodle come on

Labra­do­odle come on

Labradoodle circle

Labra­do­odle circle

EXERCISE:

Labradoodle high five

Labra­do­odle high five

Labradoodle, sit

Labra­do­odle, sit

Labradoodle, sit

Labra­do­odle, sit

Labradoodle, sit

Labra­do­odle, sit

Labradoodle, five

Labra­do­odle, five

Labradoodle, all sit

Labra­do­odle, all sit

7. Pup­pies are pla­ced in the pre­sence of various strange sti­muli with which they may enco­un­ter in the future. Bags, bal­lo­ons, boxes, jars, bells, bicyc­les, exam­ples, umbrel­las, sun­glas­ses, masks. They learn that in the future, they may enco­un­ter some­thing strange and surprising.

Labradoodle, bicycle

Labra­do­odle, bicycle

Labradoodle, bells

Labra­do­odle, bells

Labradoodle, horse

Labra­do­odle, horse

Labradoodle and balooner

Labra­do­odle and balooner

Labradoodle santa

Labra­do­odle santa

Labradoodle, santa

Labra­do­odle, santa

Labradoodle, cold fireworks

Labra­do­odle, cold fireworks

Labradoodle, balls

Labra­do­odle, balls

Labradoodle, tent, baloons

Labra­do­odle, tent, baloons

Labradoodle, tent

Labra­do­odle, tent

Labradoodle, noises, child

Labra­do­odle, noises, child

Labradoodle, chasing santa

Labra­do­odle, cha­sing santa

Labradoodle, christmass tree

Labra­do­odle, chri­st­mass tree

Labradoodle, strange surrounding

Labra­do­odle, strange surrounding

Labradoodle, strange surrounding

Labra­do­odle, strange surrounding

Labradoodle quad

Labra­do­odle quad

Labradoodle and strange horse

Labra­do­odle and strange horse

8. Enri­ched envi­ron­ment – we spread various items in a variety of mate­rials aro­und the house. In these mate­rials, we hide tre­ats. The task for pup­pies is snif­fing, sear­ching and eating. Why do we do that? Pup­pies not only learn about pre­sence of dif­fe­rent sub­jects but snif­fing calms them down. After 10 minu­tes of snif­fing dog tired more than after hour of run­ning, which raises the level of adrenaline.

Labradoodle, enriched environment

Labra­do­odle, enri­ched environment

Labradoodle, enriched environment

Labra­do­odle, enri­ched environment

Labradoodle, enriched environment

Labra­do­odle, enri­ched environment

Labradoodle, enriched environment

Labra­do­odle, enri­ched environment

Labradoodle, enriched environment

Labra­do­odle, enri­ched environment

9. Pup­pies learn how to solve pro­blems. They enter into the box, on the box, how to get off the hill, go into the water? While solving the pro­blems they learn self confidence

Labradoodle tunel

Labra­do­odle tunel

Labradoodles - igloo

Labra­do­odles — igloo

Labradoodle, under basket

Labra­do­odle, under basket

Labradoodle, tunnel

Labra­do­odle, tunnel

Labradoodle, on ice

Labra­do­odle, on ice

Labradoodle, in the water

Labra­do­odle, in the water

Labradoodle, in the rocket

Labra­do­odle, in the rocket

Labradoodle, in the box

Labra­do­odle, in the box

Labradoodle, how to get off

Labra­do­odle, how to get off

Labradoodle, how to get off

Labra­do­odle, how to get off

Labradoodle, different floors

Labra­do­odle, dif­fe­rent floors

10. Pup­pies sho­uld expe­rience dif­fe­rent weather con­di­tions, snow, rain and storm, they sho­uld go out at night

Labradoodle night

Labra­do­odle night

Labradoodle, storm

Labra­do­odle, storm

Labradoodle, night

Labra­do­odle, night

Labradoodle storm

Labra­do­odle storm

11. In the third week of life, for one week, once a day we do the mem­brane exer­ci­ses. Thanks to them, pup­pies do not suf­fer from motion sick­ness and they do not have any pro­blems with dri­ving in a car. Bre­eders who do not per­form these exer­ci­ses sho­uld take pup­pies for rides in the car.

car trips

car trips

All of this sho­uld be done by the bre­eder and owner sho­uld fol­low the pro­gram with care until 16–18 weeks of age (of course, lear­ning is a life­long pro­cess howe­ver socia­li­za­tion phase is only one time in a life­time).
Poor envi­ron­ment sup­plied by the bre­eder (at so-called cage ken­nels) will adver­sely affect the men­tal health of the dog. But not only. Also, ine­xpe­rien­ced bre­eders wishing to pro­tect their pup­pies from various noises and incen­ti­ves will uncon­scio­usly work to their disa­dvan­tage. Some­ti­mes (fol­lo­wing the vet advise) people do not take their pup­pies out­side until 12 weeks of age (because of imma­ture immune sys­tem). Howe­ver, such action will affect the psy­che of a puppy as an alre­ady an adult dog.

We must ensure HABITUATION (slowly get­ting accu­sto­med to the cer­tain sti­muli). We do not want to SENSITIZATION to occur (puppy get­ting sen­si­tive to sti­muli e.g. noise)

If we want HABITUATE the puppy to a sti­muli, it is impor­tant to ful­fill seve­ral conditions:

- Sti­muli is pre­sen­ted first at the low level (low voice, now noise)
– Puppy must be allo­wed to move away from sti­muli whe­ne­ver he wants
– Con­tact with the sti­mu­lus needs to be repeated.

If those fac­tors are not met sen­si­ti­za­tion takes place –puppy beco­mes sen­si­tive to the cer­tain sti­muli and in the future he can be afraid of it. What’s more – gene­ra­li­za­tion pro­cess can take place and all other simi­lar sti­muli can trig­ger an anxiety reactions.

Ade­qu­ate know­ledge about the cri­ti­cal period of deve­lop­ment and com­mon sense are the things neces­sary for the socia­li­za­tion of pup­pies. Each puppy is born as a clean, unw­rit­ten card. During the first weeks of life, inten­sive deve­lop­ment of con­nec­tions between brain cells takes place. What puppy will expe­rience during the first weeks of his life WILL AFFECT HIS BEHAVIOUR IN THE FUTURE.

Edyta Gajew­ska
Zoo­p­sy­cho­lo­gist, Ani­mal Behaviourist

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Wlo­chata Pasja
First Austra­lian Labra­do­odle Ken­nel in Poland