The Puppy Olympics are almost here!
8 weeks ago, on April 1st 2016, our foster dog Harlie gave birth to 11 tiny puppies. WOOFS! has fostered many pregnant moms and their puppies over the past 13 years, but this time we decided to do something different. We assigned each puppy a WOOFS! trainer. Each trainer was responsible for their pups early socialization and training. The results of these efforts will be on display at the Puppy Olympics on June 3rd. The puppies will be 9 weeks old.
We are doing this for one reason only: the importance of early socialization. The most important time in a dogs life is between 3 and 16 weeks of age. This is known as a puppies critical socialization period. During this time a puppies brain is very plastic and is programmed to be open and accepting of new experiences. After this period a puppies brain changes and is programmed to be much more wary of new things. This means that it is critical to expose a young puppy to as many positive experiences as possible before the age of 3 to 4 months. Since most of this time passes before the puppy gets into their new home, it is critical that the caretaker of young puppies has a robust socialization plan.
So what did we do? This puppies were taught many things. We taught them basic sits and downs and we started them on crate training. We exposed them to new places, people, animals and experiences. Some of them have been to softball games. Some have been to different vet offices. Some can do puppy agility equipment and some have played with children.