How do you socialize your puppies?

As a dog trainer & behavior consultant, I knew that from the start of our breeding program I wanted to incorporate all cutting edge puppy raising protocols that would set our puppies up for success from Day 1. A few programs we have incorporated into our program and made into our own include:

  1. Puppy Culture
  2. Avidog (now owned by Good Dog)
  3. Enriched Puppy Protocol

The short of it is that these programs involve introducing novel items & experiences into the puppies’ day to day life until they leave the litter. These experiences add up, setting the pups up to become the best version of themselves that they can be AT THAT AGE. Building confident & resilient puppies is the goal whether they are going into a pet home or a service dog organization. Each program was developed by a breeder for their own breed, therefore adapting these programs for OUR puppies is normal & recommended based on their developmental journey.

We have a daily socialization packet that we use every day to ensure that our puppies get the correct amount/type of experience. A few examples of things we do every day (depending on age) include:

  1. ESI (Early Scent Introduction) involves exposing newborn puppies to novel scent items briefly to stimulate their senses and possibly confidence as they grow up
  2. ENS (Early Neurological Stimulation) involves adding small stressors to the puppy during the neonatal stage; those stressors include holding them in different positions and tickling their toes.
  3. Stroller/car rides
  4. Playing or exposing puppies to potentially scary sounds such as fireworks, vacuum cleaners, lawn mowers etc. Usually paired with food to make it a good experience
  5. Games that help puppies become more operant… Operant Conditioning teaches dogs (or humans) that their behavior will lead to a consequence. We focus on positive reinforcement here at Gravitas Goldens so generally food and praise are used as the consequence (reward).
  6. Outside adventures (we live on 1 acre here)
  7. Meeting new people including children
  8. Meeting puppy safe adult dogs that are not their mother
  9. Early potty training
  10. Off site field trips