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The Importance of Socialization & Early Exposure

Socialization and Early exposure are extremely important to ensure you’ll have a confident, well-adjusted, well-behaved, smarter, happier and more stable dog. They live more peaceful lives and will develop into safer, relaxed and enjoyable companions.

The first three months of a puppy’s life, they will experience a socialization period that will permanently shape it's future and how they will react to their environment as an adult dog. Gently exposing them early to a wide variety of people, other animals, places, sounds, textures and situations makes an immense impact on how they perceive the outside world moving forward. My heart and soul goes into each one of these pups, guiding and favorably altering their behavior positively so they will grow to be confident and  brave companions as they head out into this world with courage.

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To be effective, socialization and early exposures must happen during the peak sensitive socialization period of 3 to 12 wks. of age. This is when puppies have the highest influential brain and behavioral flexibility. The pup’s perception of each socialization opportunity must be positive so he feels safe. The more likely your new puppy will be able to generalize from his prior experiences and find something reassuringly familiar in a new situation. 

This work starts here with me before pups first fear period that begins at 8 wks. Of age.

These puppies here have been hand raised on our Homestead with great awareness put towards this Early Exposures and Early Socialization training. This has been a top priority for us that we take great pride in. We believe this is the key to building incredibly well round, well mannered, calm, confident and loving peaceful fur companions.

We start this exposure here on Day 3 with Early Neurological Stimulation. This is the beginning of our work to help build the brains of puppies by taking advantage of a sensitive period. We handle our puppies every day and put them through many exercises. This has proven to be very valuable.

We gently and gradually introduce something new each and every day while keeping awareness on each individual puppy to note any signs of stress. Every puppy handles each exercise differently and we cater everything we do to these pups that need to be removed from an activity when signs of stress surface.

By the time pups reach 1 wk. of age they are capable of taking on new activities. This starts with brief car rides, stroller and sling outings. This not only gives them motion exposure but cuts down their future chance of developing car sickness. This motion training continues all the way until pup goes home to you.

We implement our 10-step handling exercises every day to make sure every pup gets a full workover from head to tail and exposed to proper handling techniques. Ear cleaning and nail trims are also part of this handling training.  All this gives them the confidence to take on any person that is going to interact with them in the future without fear.

Water exposure starts at 2 wks. old with our intro exposure techniques in a tote, by 3 wks. old they are standing in water in a pool and by 5 wks. they are swimming on their own in a bathtub. Alongside this water exposure we also do ice bath training to put them through stress and recovery training. This builds confidence within them so they learn when placed in an uncomfortable situation they can recovery all on their own perfectly fine. 

Many different surfaces, structures and textures are introduced over the weeks. Astroturf, sand, grass, bumpy play toys, balance boards, indoor play slides, outdoor stair structures, potty grids, tin foil and more.

They are brought from their cozy 72-degree nursery to the cooler temps of the great outdoors and back multiple times a day. Again, a stress and recovery exercise.

We introduce them to the other dogs in the pack early starting with tote introductions, then face to face and eventually playtime all together in the communal yard. Our dogs share a fence line with goats and a property line with horses so other animal introductions happen here very naturally.

All different age groups of people are introduced starting at 4 wks. of age. Older calm and collected, younger fast and quick and everything in between come to visit the pups to give them the opportunity to interact with all levels of play. As pups get a bit older, they go out in pairs on ‘field trips’ into town to expose them at a distance to the hustle and bustle of town life.

Music and sound training get put into place early with all sorts of different genres of music, different soundtracks of noise and sounds that they would encounter out in the world. Music, doorbells, fireworks, traffic, nature, and white noise soundtracks get pumped into their nursery constantly. Vacuums and hair dryers also are introduced daily.

Pups are introduced to their own crates at 4 wks. of age to let them know early that this is a safe and happy place to be. Not only do they learn that this is a positive location but they are nearly crate trained by the time they go home.

Collar/Leash/Harness introductions happen in their last 2 wks. here with us. This introduction gives them a head start on the feel of these tools and makes leash training a bit more familiar and easier in the future.

I am extremely passionate about spending as much time as possible with all my pups when they are in my care introducing them to as much as I possibly can. In the time that I have them they go through such an influential sensitive stage that I believe I can take full advantage of, help mold, guide and lead them to be more confidence, well mannered, secure, happy dogs.

My goal is that by the time they go home with you and out into this world, they will be ready to take on this chapter of their lives as brave, confident, happy fur companions.  It is now up to you to continue what I have started so this Early Exposure & Socialization can take full effect all the way through this very influential, important stage of their lives.

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