26 Nov Evaluating Puppies
It is really amazing how the puppy’s temperament will change at various stages of development. As their genetic personalities come forth, we find that also the puppy’s environment plays a large roll in shaping their attitudes towards our human world.
We begin to take notes on each puppy the second they are born. Birth order, their weight and gender are immediately recorded. Monitoring eating, sleeping, and interaction of the puppies for the first several weeks will give insight as to how to pursue individual training for each and every puppy.
As the puppies eyes begin to open and they become more vocal, various stimulation testing is done to help determine specific characteristic traits. We look for the puppies that are shy or frightened easily, and put them on a course of training to help them overcome those insecurities. Building confidence and a “thinking” pup is our main objective.
Some of the things we watch his how the puppy will interact with littermates. This helps determine the social abilities of the puppy that will often carry over into an adult dog. Watching the puppies energy level, how they play with littermates, do they always want to be by their mom, or do they like to wander off and explore. You can learn so much about them and their world by just watching.
Sound stimulation will also tell us about their personality traits. If they are startled will they run and hide or will they “bounce back”? The bounce back is what we look for and keep track of. How long it will take the puppy to get over what has frightened them. By doing this at a young age we can desensitize the pups to thunderstorms, household noises, children screaming, fireworks, and many other sounds.
Once puppies are weaned, we watch how they react to eating with their littermates. Many times food aggression that is not seen until the dog turns 6 months of age could have actually been prevented with just a few simple steps at the young age of 6-8 weeks. A close eye is kept on the puppies to make sure that no one gets bullied for the food. A puppy who eats their food very quickly, becomes stiff, or behaves in an aggressive manner when someone approaches them, will continue this behavior if it is not addressed at the early age. The puppy that guards a toy, food, or a bone at an early age is taught that is unacceptable behavior. Left unattended it can to turn a puppy into a resource guarder. Totally an unacceptable behavior!
We evaluate the puppy around different people. Men, women, and children, so that we can observe their interactions with each person. You will find some puppies that love to snuggle, some that just don’t like to be bothered. We hold and handle the puppy in various ways to determine their tolerance level. Especially if the dog will be staying with us for therapy or companion work. By exposing the puppy to many different things during their early days, weeks, and months, is like having money in the bank. You never know when a certain situation will arise, and to know your puppy is confident and able to handle it is a great feeling.