Socializing your new Brittany

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(This article was excerpted from The Brittany – Amateurs Training With Professionals with permission from the authors.)

Behavior studies for dogs have shown that the first twelve weeks are extremely important because a pup’s experiences during this time will affect his emotional responses as an older adult dog. The need for human contact is important and starts soon after a pup is born. Research has shown that a three-to seven-week old puppy can be strongly affected by a lack of human contact, developing into a shy and easily excitable dog. It is important for breeders to spend a lot of time with their pups during the early formative stages of their lives.
When you take your pup home, the responsibility now becomes yours. Make him your buddy and fuss over him; however, this is also the time for you to begin teaching him you are the boss. When you cradle him in your arms, hold him quietly until he relaxes. Hold him until he relaxes two or three times a day, making each session last about two or three minutes. If he struggles, do not put him down. Wait until he stops struggling. In this simple way, you are beginning to establish your authority.

Take him with you wherever you go. Put a collar and leash on him and take him for walks. Put him in a kennel crate and take him for rides in your car. Let him be around other people, especially kids. Let him sort out the multitude of smells, sounds, and sights and determine their importance. Caution: Do not expose him to loud noises, such as Fourth of July fireworks. [See Chapter 3 of The Brittany Amateurs Training With Professionals for information on introducing birds and gunfire.]

If there is an obedience club in your area, find out if it offers kindergarten classes for puppies. If they are available, take your pup to these classes. They are fun for the whole family and will provide you with information and support. You will learn to recognize average puppy behavior of all breeds. The commitment to the class will ensure your spending time training your pup, and your pup will be getting canine and human socialization.

The importance of socialization cannot be overemphasized. Socialization begins with the breeder and must continue with you as your pup’s owner. Take your pup to all sorts of new and different places; to the post office, to the bank, for walks in the park on a lead, and so on. Puppies attract people’s attention, so take advantage of every opportunity to stop and let people pet and play with your pup. These experiences develop his self-confidence and his trust in people.


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