Are you preparing to welcome a Big Rock Wonderful Woofie into your home? Well, you will be ahead of the curve then with your new family member, as we here at Big Rock work hard to ensure that you will be bringing home a well socialized, neurologically stimulated, healthy puppy ready for the challenges ahead!
But, what do you do once you bring home baby to keep him going in the right direction?
We are here to help you with that, and, adopting a Wonderful Woofie from Big Rock means that you will have a lifetime of support for your new four legged friend!
First, one of the most important things you can do to help your puppy grow up to be friendly, confident, happy dog is to socialize your puppy right from the start. You will hear a lot of talk about vaccine status, Parvo and other disease transmission out there in the general community, but don't worry!!! You will take certain precautions, like avoiding the dog parks for the first few months, but if you wait until puppy has all of their vaccines and titres done, you will have missed a critical time of development your young friend. it's a balancing act that every owner has to handle depending on their circumstances and their comfort level. We recommend utilizing areas like responsible puppy classes where all the dogs have had at least one or two shots and the houses of friends with fully protected animals. We have seen and/or heard of very few cases of healthy puppies catching a disease from other dogs, but hundreds of examples of dogs with serious behavioral problems related to inadequate or improper socialization.
If your new puppy is not exposed to a variety of people, dogs and challenging situations when young (under 16 weeks of age), he might not be the friendly, confident, happy-go-lucky companion you brought home at 8 weeks. Fear in puppies is often exhibited as aggression in adult dogs, so now the time to create positive experiences with people and animals outside of the home. However, take note of the information provided below, as socialization done incorrectly (all to common occurrence) can actually cause more harm than good.
Your pup needs to experience a wide of variety of situations and environments, including car trips, meeting the neighbours, nature walks, busy city street walks, trips past the local school at home time, to name a few. This type of Environmental Stimulation can actually change the way your puppy's brain is structured, allowing him to become more adaptable to change when he's an adult. Dogs who have had limited exposure to a variety of environments are more likely to be stressed when you take a vacation, add a family member, move, etc., so, it's really important to take this new challenge seriously. Of course, there is also a genetic aspect to your dog's responses, but here at Big Rock, we only breed dogs with solid temperaments, to ensure that your puppy has the best possible start.
To get started, take your pup out and about without taking him places where he'll be scared by too much activity or noise. Teach him to ride in the car, to visit the vet clinic (not for an appointment, just to say "hi" and get some treats!), or to the groomer's shop, again, not for an appointment. Visit friends, take puppy camping, or on nature walks, walk on shiny floors, wet surfaces, grass, gravel, dirt, etc. Take him everywhere you can, just remember not to overwhelm him.
When to Start
NOW! A puppy's brain is not fully formed until the age of five months. However, there a "critical" or "sensitive" period of socialization from 3 to 14-16 weeks of age that is especially important. This is the time when puppies are most influenced by meeting other potential "pack members".
Socialization and Stimulation are an on-going process. It's not enough just to have puppy meet everyone you know in the first couple of weeks of bringing him home and then just stick to home base for the next year. Ideally, positive social encounters should continue throughout your dog's life.