Great Dogs are Not Just Born That Way


We here at Big Rock Labradoodles and Big Rock Labradoodles, North understand that the comprehensive list of things we, as breeders, both with our dams and puppies while they are in our care have a lot to do with the outcome of raising great dogs and wonderful family members. But, when our puppies leave our care and join their forever families, there is still much to do! As such, we encourage you to continue what we have started here with your pup once you take him home.

When Puppies Go Home, up to the age of 16 weeks 'Sensitive Period'

At this time in their lives you want to be introducing your new pup to as many safe experiences as possible and make change the norm. We started the pups on their socialization/potty training/housebreaking journey, as well as crate training, but it's your turn to continue what we started.

Strive to introduce your pup to all sorts of people including men, women, kids and adults that are tall, short, skinny, heavy, bald, bearded, from many races. Also take opportunities to expose puppy to people in uniform, wearing hats, and coats and using canes, walkers and wheelchairs. You want to expose her to as many things as possible, paying special attention to include the things you expect she will be seeing throughout her lifetime. Be sure to do it in a safe manner. Remember you want your pup to have good experiences when exposing her to the things on this list (as well as any others you come up with!) Bad experiences will imprint just as quickly as good ones, so be careful to watch your pup’s demeanor. A little stress is good for your pup, just be sure not to overdo it! Here are some more ideas for you and your pup!

Introduce the pup to stairs, but then take stairs away, as much as you can, until pup is 3 months. Introducing stairs now will ensure your pup is not scared of them later, but taking them away until she is a little bigger and stronger will go a long way in the prevention of hip and joint issues later in life.

Introduce your pup to appliances in your own home like the washing machine, dryer, vacuum cleaner, and dishwasher. I'd say the mop...but...we already know how much your new pup already likes the mop!

Ask people you meet while out and about with your pup to give him some treats.

If you go to a store that has a shopping cart, be sure your pup is given a chance to walk up to it both standing still and moving. You could even put her into the shopping cart, if she is relaxed enough!

Take your pup for a walk on trash day and walk him by the trash cans and bags.

On your walks be sure to let her walk by fire hydrants and the storm drains in the street.

Introduce your pup to people wearing costumes, particularly masks

If you get your pup during the winter, be sure he gets a chance to play in the snow! But beware of the attack of the snowballs! If this happens, you will be very happy if your pup has already been introduced to a blow dryer!

Speaking of things that blow air, when landscapers are working in your area, be sure to walk your pup across the street from where they are blowing leaves or mowing the lawn.

Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall, if you live near the beach, be sure to take your pup for a romp in the sand and let him chase the waves and the seagulls!

Of course, taking her all these places means she is spending lots of time in the car! Be sure she is secured safely in a crate or seat belt!

Play lots of tug games with your puppy and be sure to let him win some of the time.

If it is summertime and you own a boat, be sure to take her for a ride! Again..Seat belt, and a life jacket too!

While you are at the beach, if there happen to be some people surfing, walk down so you both can watch!

Enroll your puppy in a puppy playgroup or arrange get-togethers with other puppies and safe adult dogs (We Rock With Our Big Rock Labradoodle is a great resource for play dates).

If you will ever be going to a big city, take your pup there while he is young so he can soak up the sights and sounds. Why not add in a train or cab ride?

Like to go camping? Take your pup with you!

Find a place where you can hike in the woods with your pup. Let her climb over logs, wooden bridges, carry sticks, play in the leaves and the mud (yes, mud!) Remember though, no 'dog parks' under 5 months of age

It’s time to give your pup another bath!

Play hide and seek both in the house and when hiking in the woods. See if your pup can find you!

Add restraint to your pup’s recalls at home. Have a friend hold your puppy back while you run away. When you call your puppy, as he pulls toward you, the person holding him should let go.

Take your puppy for leash walks both during the day and at night. Things will look very different to your puppy at night.

Take your pup to visit Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny! Even if you don’t have kids, you should strive to have your puppy really comfortable around children. Do not just take advantage of opportunities to be around kids, seek them out. Ask kids to give your pup treats—and make sure they are her absolute favorites! When they are petting your pup, you can be giving her treats, too.

Take your pup to the bus stop.

Go to the park or an outdoor school event to see if you can find a family with young kids—if they have balloons or have a child in a stroller, all the better!

Look for places where there are kids playing, like a playground! Let your pup watch the kids run and scream as they chase each other, swing on the swings and climb on the playground equipment. If they ask if they can pet him, tell them how to pet your puppy and give them treats to feed him.

If you do not have kids, ask your friends if your puppy can come visit their children or grandchildren.

To meet all sorts of people, take your pup with you when you pick someone up at the train station or the airport. So that it is not just a car ride, be sure to give yourself enough time to let her greet people!

Let your pup watch and listen to someone playing a musical instrument.

During July 1st, if there are fireworks off in the distance, take your pup out to watch them. Remember to bring great treats, too!!!

Take your pup to a construction site so she can see and hear the crane, bulldozer, jack hammers, power saws, nail guns, etc.

If you plan to travel a lot with your pup, spend a night in a motel with her, even if you are not going on a trip or to a dog show.

If you plan to compete in dog sports, be sure to get your puppy into the show environment, even if you are not entered.

Ask your veterinarian if you can bring your pup by without an appointment to get her weight. If she gets lots of treats, the vet’s office will soon become one of her favorite places!

When you are out for a drive, take your pup through the car wash and get the bonus of a clean car.

If you can find one, enroll him in a puppy socialization class where the pups work with you and also spend time playing with other pups.

If you can fit in another class, try an obedience or foundation agility class.

Teach your pup a new trick each week. It is not about the trick, it is about teaching her how to learn!

Take your pup to all your kids’ sporting events!

Some things bear repeating—you and your veterinarian will be very happy if every day you handle your pup’s entire body from head to tail—feet, legs, tail, belly, family jewels, open his mouth, look at his teeth, open and look into his eyes and ears!

Last but not least...

Have your puppy stay overnight at a friend’s house.

CONGRATULATIONS!! You have not only survived your puppy’s first 16 weeks, you have taken advantage of the Sensitive Period, the most important time in your pup’s life!!


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Images, illustrations & text copyright 2016 Alana Holst.

Use without permission is prohibited. Violators will be prosecuted.

© Alana Holst 

Located in High River, Alberta CANADA

The information contained in this website is subject to change at any time, as we continue to learn, research and grow in the development of the healthiest possible puppies for our families at Big Rock Labradoodles and information on website is not a contractual agreement between Big Rock Labradoodles and current/new clients.