Thursday, March 4, 2010
The Question Of Pup Socialization
When having to feed and care for eight remaining pups, getting a call from someone answering an ad you'd place is so exciting. The potential buyer owned this breed before and new what a wonderful dog anyone of the pups would make, but after a few exchanged calls her concern was with the age of the pup and being able to socialize him / her with other animals - some being of the farm variety.
We raised pure bred dogs and other from pups so I thought on that for awhile, researched and spoke to others that I new who raised this breed as well as, dogs (pure bred and other) from pups; our thoughts were one in the same. Concerning age I would think you'd first have to look at what the best age is for leaving the mother and litter - a pup leaving to young isn't always the best thing or any earlier than 8 weeks is to young. I've even read where 8 weeks as the minimum age up to 10 - 12 weeks as related to psychological readiness. Even though some may mature faster physically than others they might not be ready mentally. As stated in a previous post some things can be beyond our control but the care and training they receive from the mother / or surrogate is valuable - setting how they'll be as adults.
Now on socialization - From everything I've read and know from our own experience, the pups first few days with the mother are crucial for the pup's mental and social development and a good breeder will also understands that they can influence the pups health and behavior as well. For us - this task was extremely important, we wanted the puppy's to be healthy physically as well as mentally. So we did everything we could (and continue to do so for the remaining pups, 5 since I started this post) to provide the best care possible. In my research I've found that the best time for pups to be socialized is between 8 1/2 weeks to 17 even up to 2 years; wow. Dogs are social animals to begin with and to say that they are to old I don't believe that to be totally accurate. Look at dogs that are rehabilitated with even just one person that has love and patience. I'm convinced it mostly has to do with the owner and if they are the leader of their pack. I've seen this with our dogs - recognizing how we are and how they respond to how we are.
From our own experience - for my birthday my husband purchased a beautiful bullmastiff several years ago from a breeder in Olympia,WA. I didn't know I would be getting her at the time we drove to the breeders just to look. On my birthday Jim brought Bonita Rosa "Rosie" home she was 4 months old. We couldn't have had a better dog and one that was more social that her. This was way over the age of these pups. Rosie was around our young boys at the time and other children she was also gentle with other animals. Kids would come up and ask if she could play. No kidding. But what made the difference was her litter experience and the breeder did all that they could do to raise the two pups Rosie and brother that were left for mental and physical well being. We've had other dogs that did well first off and some that were a challenge I won't lie about it; but it can be done. I do agree that there are certain ages that maybe better between 8 1/2 - 17, I believe that some are exceptional like Rosie and some a little more challenging like Miki our Jack (she's mostly stubborn!lol). All in all the question should be are you right for the breed you are choosing and to you have the love and patience to work with any breed? Lastly even in a litter whether you have four pups or ten they are all a bit different; some that listen and get it right every-time and some that are hit and miss but all are getting it. :) When taking any pup home not only should you be socializing but obedience training is a must. We do work with the pups here learning the basics.
FYI Just a couple links but there are out there - puppy-socialization and how to socialize your pup.