The Association of Pet Behavior Cousellors has lots of common sense advice that we implement in our training program. My favorite advise from this website is to record sounds so that the puppies are not fearful of common sounds of family life. I don't have a vacuum cleaner because I don't have carpet but I do record one for the puppies to hear every few days. I also have an extensive net work of experienced breeders that I rely on to stay up to date and well informed on the latest research. Here's an overview of our system that has been working best for us.
Week 1-2: The first 2 weeks of our puppies' development, their momma does most of the socializing and feeding. It's a good time for the puppies to be in a quiet area away from the busy sights and sounds of our family but we make sure to gently cuddle them every 2-4 hours and bottle feed as necessary.
Week 3: Starting at 3 weeks old, we begin introducing our puppies to some new sights, sounds, and textures every day so they are beginning to become accustomed to busy family life. We are still very careful to not expose them to any new people or dogs to make sure they stay as healthy as possible but have found recordings of new sounds to be helpful in minimizing their fear of new environments.
Week 4-5: As the puppies reach 4-5 weeks old, we also introduce them to other animals and they learn to bond with both cats and dogs. At this age, our puppies have a stronger immune system and have their first shots so we allow visitors to meet our puppies. The more friends and family they meet the better! We continue to use lots of audio and textures so that the puppies are comfortable everywhere they go.
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