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This brief summary suggests that the window for optimal socialization of puppies may be much shorter and close much earlier than previously thought.

Why Do So Many Dogs Suffer from Fear Problems? Are we socialising our puppies in the right way?

n the latest research it is suggested that the socialisation period is much shorter than previously assumed and may end at 7-8 weeks with the most important period being the 3 to 5 week. The second point is that new insights in brain development have important implications for for example, the moment and manner in which we expose dogs to stimuli and the moment we choose to home them.
 

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Really interesting article.

I decided a while back that, if I get a puppy, I'll take that puppy everywhere for a while. I'll also be actively involved in the pre-taking home process. :)

I remember when I was first realizing how serious Yogi's problems were. I decided he and I needed quality time together (without Biscuit), so I took him on a day trip. There was a beautiful park in the town we went to --- Biscuit LOVED that park. :(

I'm fairly convinced his previous owners kept him in a bathroom most of the time, for convenience's sake. And that, wherever he came from before, he was around a lot of dogs, but locked in a barn or ??? -- little or no exposure to people and new experiences. :(
 

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Great article Betsy. Hobby breeders seem to like to keep their pups until 12 weeks of age. Is it because this is a more optimal time to evaluate confirmation and decide which pups are show prospects and which are going to pet homes or is it because the puppy needs that time for contact with its littermates and socialization? Do most breeders adequately socialize their puppies before they go to their new homes?

I've often heard you can't let your pup be around other dogs until it's had all its shots, which is at about 16 weeks of age. Some say don't take your pup for a walk until then so as not to expose them to where other dogs have "gone potty.

Another factor is the requirement by breeders that prospective puppy buyers have a fenced in yard. I certainly agree with not letting dogs run lose but how many dogs actually get to see the outside of their fenced in yards?

I think we need to rethink how and when we socialize puppies and wouldn't be suprised if more dogs are euthanized as a result of inadequate socialization as pups, than die as a result of exposure to infectious disease.

The two pups I got at 8 wks loved being around people and other dogs. The one pup I got at 12 wks was returned to the breeder for being fear aggressive. :(

[ July 28, 2004, 03:04 PM: Message edited by: Barbara Winters ]
 

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That is fascinating, I will certainly keep it in mind with the litter that is (hopefully) on it's way.

The theory behind keeping the pups longer seems to be that the learn from their dam and littermates about proper social behavior. Right now I keep mine until 10 weeks, with my schedule I didn't find that keeping them for the extra two weeks to make 12 was beneficial for them. They say eight weeks is the best time to evaluate for conformation.

I'm not one of those that believes in keeping a pup at home until it's 16 weeks, I think they miss out on too much socializing during that time.
 

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When I was a little girl, there were lots of dogs roaming all over our neighborhood. We knew them, they knew us, and everybody got along. I think Barb's remark re: fenced yards is part of the problem. Our society forces dog owners to isolate their dogs. A dog that's 'out there' learns street smarts. They get along with people and other dogs.

Having said that, no way would I let my dogs roam all over town. Too many crazy, dog-stupid people out there.

Maybe I've just been lucky. So far, I've never had a dog that was fear aggressive or poorly socialized. Our house has always had lots of people in and out, our neighbors like dogs, and now, we go to handling classes and dog shows. I'm not discounting the importance of socializing at an early age -- I happen to think it's something a dog always needs, just like most people do.
 

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Many breeders make the wrong choices for young pups --- seperating them so they do not get ear damage, keeping them in kennels, not exposed to people etc.This will prevent damage to ears, and lips, but the pups need to learn to get along. They have to learn to respect older, larger dogs. They also need to think of people as more than an occasional source of food. I think 8 weeks is old enough, older pups do not bond as well with new owners. however, if I ship a pup by air, it doesn't go til 10 weeks. I get the pup to sleep in the crate it will be shipped in for the last week or so with a towel. Pup and smelly towel then are ready. For the pup, the world out there may be totally foreign, but this is my crate and it feels, smells OK.
 

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That is very interesting! If I'm ever brave enough to get another dog, I will keep all of this in mind.

Aruuu, there were dogs roaming my childhood area also. But any dog that didn't play well with others was taken out back.
Joan
 
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