Raising CCR Puppies
CurlyCoated HomePuppies & LittersRaising PuppiesAbout usCurlies in actionField/HuntingShow RingDock DivingBarn HuntCurly-Coat AgilityOther ActivitiesDana Dog!ReillyLodiMowgli and LandyJet's PageBeautyGabby/StellaCurly Coat SistersUp and ComingFamous CCRDenzel/SwiperSoftMaple boysLiving with a curlyCCR Class ClownHistory of SoftMapleYour Curlies Golden YearsBreed History
CurlyCoated Retrievers

Here are the top TEN ways for raising puppies to be confident dogs!
 
 

Pick Self-Confident Parents. Breeding stock selection is key. Fearful dogs, both fathers and mothers, may pass their fears on to their offspring. Conversely, confident parents tend to produce more confident puppies BUT confident dogs are as much made as born so read on for things you can do to help your puppies become stable, confident dogs.

 

me8 Pick Good Mothers. Nurture also plays a big role, starting with mothering. There is strong evidence that attentive, doting mothers raise more confident offspring, even if those babies’ natural mothers were timid. The reverse is also true. Poor moms that ignore or worse correct their pups too harshly can reduce the confidence of inherently bold puppies. UPDATE: A study in Nature published in January 2016, showed that doting dog mothers produce more outgoing pups that readily explore the world around them AND are less aggressive.

 

 

Handle Your Puppies. Touching and holding puppies from very early in the pups’ lives, particularly in the first three weeks, improves their ability to handle stress, learn and problem solve as adults. You can do this in formal ways, like Early Neurologic Stimulation and Early Scent Introduction, or you can just cuddle with each puppy every day. It’s a tough job but someone has to do it!

 

 
 
 
 
 
me2aaaa15AAAA9

aaaa8 Present Pups with Appropriate Challenges. Some folks believe that baby puppies should be shielded from any fright or challenge that might stress them. We believe the opposite, although we obviously do not allow our puppies to get injured or terrified. However, we know that to gain self-confidence, puppies must do things that are hard for them, that take them out of their comfort zone. Puppy equipment that is too easy for the puppies after 4 or 5 weeks of age (the Transition Period) is cute but not developmental. Watching a 7-week old Curly puppy on a 1” high teeter or a German shepherd puppy on 4” dog walk may be fun but it isn’t doing anything for the pups because there is no challenge.
 

aaaa5 By six weeks of age, puppies need situations that are physically and mentally difficult and a little bit stressful. Pups need to struggle to gain confidence, whether getting on a platform, sliding down a slide or wading in a stream. A pup may have to try a dozen times, perhaps over several days, to climb up on a platform. He may whine, cry and even howl. He may give up or fail, over and over. Yes, he will get stressed and it will be hard on him. BUT if we allow the puppy to solve the problem himself, he will become more coordinated and confident. If we make it too easy or if we rescue him, he will not. Independent success and achievement create self-confident puppies.

aaaa7

book
To order a copy of The Puppy Diary mail a check to:
$19.95 ($5.50 Shipping and Handling)
Cathy Lewandowski
8282 Soft Maple Road
Croghan NY 13327
 
 

 
Change Things Regularly. Because of the way dogs develop, challenges need to change regularly, too. Puppies habituate to things very quickly and when they do, development stops. So change up your puppy pen, moving items around and rotating things in and out. When you walk your pups, go in different directions each day. If your pups are doing everything with ease, make them a little more difficult.
aaaa16

IMG_6752 Take Woods Walks with Your Litters.
We call them woods walks but you can call them field or beach or even desert walks. Taking your puppies out for off-leash walks over moderate terrain not only helps them develop confidence but it significantly reduces the risk of hip dysplasia in adulthood. If you can, get off the path and go cross country with your pups so they meet and overcome challenges like ditches, hills, fallen trees, stone walls and more.

All breeds can do woods walks; you’ll simply make the challenges smaller for toy breeds. Make sure it’s not too hot or too cold, and that your “woods” are free of other dogs. Use your yard, your friend’s yards or those hidden wild places. Where not to go? Never a dog park or the local dog hangout.

aaaa4aaa12

aaaa17 Recognize That Wariness is Normal. There seems to be a new philosophy that if pups are afraid of something, people should get involved to help them. The vast majority of the time, nothing could be further from the truth! In all but emergencies, our involvement reduces the puppies’ self-efficacy and instead, changes them from independent problem solvers to dependent ones. If producing confident dogs is our goal, we want to give puppies the opportunity to deal with their own concerns. Wariness is normal when raising puppies.

front Starting at 5 weeks of age, it is natural for pups to be wary of new objects, people and places. Wariness is not fear! Wariness is being cautious about possible dangers or problems. Puppies go from being completely unaware of things that can hurt them at 3 and 4 weeks of age to recognizing that there are dangers in the world. Between 5 and 9 weeks of age, pups become hyperaware of novel items because they now have the mental ability to assess whether a situation is safe or not.

Pups at this age develop at different rates so you may see some pups showing caution earlier than others. That’s just because their brains and nervous systems are maturing at different times. What appears to be a slow or even fearful puppy may just be a pup whose brain needs to finish up myelination, a key step that enables learning.

When these older puppies come upon a new thing, they might move to a safer distance to observe and smell the item. They might circle it to see what happens and then approach cautiously to touch and sniff the new thing. All of this is not only normal, it is SMART!

 

IMG_2820 Avoid Labeling Young Puppies. If we label a 6-week old (or worse yet, younger) puppy as “fearful” or “manipulative” simply because it is wary around a new object, we have made a serious error. What the puppy is doing is normal for its age. The difference between it and others in its litter might be due to physiologic rather than temperament. Like people, dogs develop at different rates. Since we are talking about puppies that haven’t even been alive for two months yet, giving them the benefit of the doubt seems appropriate.
 

p4 Psychologists have long known that labeling children affects how others treat them. Once we label puppies, we look for evidence to support that label, even if it isn’t there. We want to be unbiased but we are not once we have labeled a puppy. We watch “stars” and ooh and ah over the great things they do, overlooking their moments of tentativeness. Once a puppy has been labeled a “weanie” or “scaredy-cat,” we treat that puppy differently.

 

We compound our error if we then step in to “fix” the fearful puppy by interfering with the natural process by which puppies learn about themselves and their world. Instead, we should quietly and unobtrusively support ALL puppies in the 6- to 13-week period. We should give all of them as much time and experience they need to become comfortable with the strange things they find in the world around them.

 

 

aaaa3Allow Pups to Solve Their Own Problems. So what should we do if our puppy is afraid? We should wait quietly, giving the puppy time to complete its evaluation and make a decision regarding the novel item. Often, we just put the item in the pen with the litter so it has all the time it needs to resolve its concern. This also allows it to watch its littermates or mother interact with the item.

aaaa2 If we can’t put the object in the pen, we stay quietly out of the way while ensuring the puppy is safe. We might support the puppy by sitting or standing nearby but we do not take control of the situation. This is between the puppy and its world! If we encourage the puppy, we are putting pressure on it, increasing the stress it is feeling. If we push, pull or physically place the puppy near the item, we may cause it to panic. If we start training, we teach the puppy that we are in charge in strange situations rather than him. We are making him dependent and needy. Remember, our job is to do nothing but ensure the puppy is safe and offer him the comfort of our presence!

 

If the puppy is still concerned about the item after 15 minutes, we will plan a return trip, perhaps with a confident older dog. Puppies learn a lot by observing older dogs so we use them to help puppies gain confidence. For this reason, we also never allow puppies to walk with fearful adult dogs since the older dog’s concern may rub off on the pup.

 

In all walks of life, confident dogs do best. Raising confident dogs is critical for today’s breeders and owners. To do this, we select stable breeding animals, keep the pups with their mother untill weaned, and create challenging developmental opportunities in which we allow puppies to solve their own problems. We recognize that puppies from 5 to 12 weeks are programmed to respond warily to the world, evaluate what is dangerous, and then engage with perceived safe items, people and situations. As owners and breeders, our job is to not interfere or take control during this time or we risk creating dependent rather than confident pups! Instead, we should ensure developmental opportunities are age and size appropriate and a bit of a challenge. We then make sure the puppies are safe and stay out of the way.

pupbanner2

IMG_9854

What Should Socialization Experiences Include?

Early socializations should include exposure to all kinds of people, animals, objects, and experiences.

These experiences will vary from familiar routines that your pup will probably take in stride, to unusual or unfamiliar experiences that are more intense for your puppy:

111d (1)t People – Your puppy should learn how to interact with different people, including babies, children, and the elderly, people using canes, people in uniforms, people in wheelchairs, and people of different skin colors.

Dogs – Learning how to be a polite and respectful canine citizen takes plenty of practice. Your pup should have opportunities to play with puppies and dogs of different breeds and sizes. They should also experience walking past other dogs without meeting and observing as they walk right past your puppy.

Places and experiences – Everywhere you go and everything you do gives your puppy different challenges and experiences. Even your familiar neighborhood changes at night, in the rain, or in the snow. In addition to taking in the world as an observer, your pup should alsohave the opportunity toparticipate in activities. Socialization experiences are as unlimited as your creativity. For starters, try exposing your puppy to some of these unique situations and experiences.


Sidewalks, streets, and roads with different levels of traffic
Parking lots or areas in front of strip malls where your pup can see people and cars coming and going
Playgrounds or parks / ball-fields where kids are playing
Training classes
Lakes, rivers, pools, and sandy beaches
Parades or other busy events

SS852056 (1)

How To Socialize A Puppy – Do’s and Don’ts

When planning appropriate socialization experiences for you puppy, there are many things to consider. Here’s the most important ones I can think of, listed in an easy ‘do’s and don’ts’ format:

First of all:

nov25h Do make sure that each event or exposure is pleasant for you and your puppy.
Do keep experiences short so your puppy doesn’t get overwhelmed.
Do increase the duration of the exposure over time, as well as the level of distraction to make things challenging, but not frightening.
Do invite friends and family over to meet your puppy. Extend the invitation to babies, toddlers, men, women, and people from all different backgrounds.
Do invite friendly, healthy, vaccinated dogs over to play with your pup and visit the homes of these dogs as well.
Do bring your pup to places where there is plenty of activity.
Do take your puppy for frequent car rides.
Do introduce your puppy to new objects like umbrellas, boxes, trash cans, vacuum cleaners, bicycles, and skateboards.
Do introduce your puppy to new and unusual sounds.
Do introduce your puppy to all kinds of body handling, including brushing, bathing, tooth brushing, nail clipping, ear and teeth cleaning, and body inspections.

And while keeping the above in mind:

IMG_1896 Don’t expose your puppy to situations that they aren’t ready for.
Don’t bring your unvaccinated puppy to places visited by unhealthy or unvaccinated dogs.
Don’t reward fearful behavior. In trying to sooth your fearful puppy with praise or treats, you may inadvertently encourage fearful behavior. Instead only reward the behavior you want to see, and if your dog is scared, move away from the situation.
Don’t rush. Let your puppy work at a pace that is comfortable. Your job is to provide the opportunity. They will do the socializing.
Don’t wait! This window of opportunity is very short, and the
more you can take advantage of it, the easier it will be to work with your puppy in all kinds of situations as they mature.

ccrakc2016_CURL_BWH_banner

 

cover
Order your copy of The Puppy Diary for $19.95
($5.50 Shipping and Handling)

Order The Puppy Diary from Trafford