Brimka Haus German Shepherds
** Naturally Reared ** Excessively Socialized **
608 405 6360 Laura@BrimkaHaus.com
Site last updated: Feb 21, 2023
Our puppies are
RAISED WITH CHILDREN & OTHER ADULT DOGS
ENCOURAGED TO LOVE THEIR CRATE
EXPOSED TO A WOBBLE BOARD, A TUNNEL & A TEETER TOTTER
TAUGHT TO MAND
"Socialization means learning to be part of society. When we talk about socializing pet puppies, it means helping them learn to be comfortable as a pet within human society-a society that includes many different types of people, environments, buildings, sights, noises, smells, animals and other dogs." ~ pets.webmd.com
"From about 3 weeks to about 3 months of age, puppies are primed for bonding to other animals and individuals, for learning that objects, people, and environments are safe, and for learning what the body cues and signals of others mean. It is their sensitive period for socialization and it is the most important socialization period in a dog’s life. Puppies who do not get adequate socialization during this period tend to be fearful of unfamiliar people, or dogs, or sounds, objects and environments." ~ Dr Sophia Yin
What is Socialization?
Startle Response... At about three weeks of age, pups develop a startle response to loud noises or unfamiliar objects such as opening an umbrella. But also from about three weeks of age until about five weeks of age they have yet to develop a fear response. This lack of fear and quick recovery to being startled provides a small window of opportunity to exercise the puppies’ recovery muscles without worry of fear imprinting. From three to six weeks of age, the puppies are exposed to a variety of sights, and sounds intended to exercise their startle recovery. Some sounds that we find beneficial to work their recovery muscles are a hand clap, dropping metal bowls, starting a vacuum cleaner, shaking a soda can filled with small pebbles, children screaming, and engaging a smoke alarm.
Separation Exercise... At about three to four weeks of age, the pups are removed from their littermates for brief periods. This separation teaches the puppies that life without their littermates is possible. The pups also begin to form bonds with humans during these brief windows of time. They also become accustom to life outside the weaning area.
"...so by three weeks of age visual cues and auditory cues can be added to the olfactory and tactile modalities and the pups are hitting on all four environmental perception cylinders. Though not yet functioning in a totally coordinated way, that's the total sensory pathways the dog will ever have. All four modalities firing together and total absence of fear makes the three to six week period the most critical for socializing on humans and on dogs. This is when the breeder's responsibility is greatest. And what are the breeder's responsibilities? The main one is the breeder must ensure all associations the pup makes are positive." ~Dr. Ed Bailey
The Startle Recovery
and Separation Phase
Pups are moved gradually from their whelping box to the weaning area. This process lasts several days and begins with short stints out of their whelping box. The weaning area encourages exploration and helps to improves their physical strength. They are now beginning to need more room as they begin to venture out of their birthplace and into the big world. As the pups grow the space is enlarged to enable the pups to be able to move about comfortably. This increased space also encourages less friction among littermates.
Sure footing.... Since birth our puppies move about on rubber backed rugs. This is especially important for nursing pups. Their back legs should not be sliding out from under them while attempting to nurse from mom. At about six to seven weeks of age the pups have developed enough strength to keep their feet under them while walking. The rugs are used less in the weaning area at this time.
Potty Training... While in the weaning area our pups will be trained to use pee pads. Yes, this happens at three to four week of age! This helps to keep their area clean and encourages potty training later on. Pups that live in a clean area tend to want to potty outdoors and not where they sleep/play and eat.
Crate Training... Crate training will begin at this time. We place crates in the weaning area with the doors off. The pups are able to go in and out at will. We also give raw meaty bones to the pups (at six weeks of age) while in the crate to encourage a positive association with the crate.
The Weaning Area
4 -5 weeks
What is Manding (Quotes taken from Puppy Culture).... “Mand, which is a way of asking for things… [is] one of the most important skills for any social creature!” “Dogs have needs and they communicate them through behaviors. The need to be heard is a deep, emotional need for all social animals. And we are saying to him, ‘You have voice. I’m gonna listen to you, but I’m going to show you how you can speak to me.’” “…If you chose to let this go, and then just correct the puppy – I mean, you know, not too harsh, but correct him, stop him… you would have shut down his voice. The dog no longer has a way to communicate his need to you.”
Manding... First the young puppy has to learn that yummy treats come from your hand. So in the beginning we "teach" the puppy to take treats from our hands. Secondly, we begin to use a marker, (clicker or "yes" word) to condition the puppy to the sound of the clicker or the marker word. This teached him that when he hears the clicker a treat is given. Lastly, we click and treat when the puppy sits nicely or his but just hist the floor quickly click and then treat. Over a short period of time the puppy learns that when he sits he receives a yummy treat. This discourages your puppy from jumping up on people. He will sit and "ask" politely for a treat/attention.
Outdoors... the pups are taken outside every day for exercise and to explore new environments. They are generally exposed to our backyard deck first and then a few days later taken to the backyard to run around in the grass/dirt or snow. While outdoors, the pups are well supervised and interact with each other, other adult dogs and the children.
Learning to Mand
& Outdoor Time
5 -6 weeks
What is Resource Guarding (Quote taken from yourdogsfriend.com).... “Resource guarding refers to a dog displaying behavior (growling, snapping, etc.) intended to convince other dogs or humans to stay away from a particular treasure or “resource.” The resource can be food, treats, toys, a place (a bed or favorite chair), or occasionally a person. Basically, a resource is anything that is considered by the dog to be of high value.”
Exchanges... The first step to prevent a puppy from learning to resource guard his possessions is to do exchanges with your puppy. This is an easy and useful exercise for the puppy. While the puppy has a toy or bone in his mouth you approach the puppy with a higher value treat and place it near his nose. The puppy drops the item that is in his mouth and takes the treat. You immediately give the item that he originally had in his mouth back. Performing this exercise will teach the puppy that good things come to him when a hand approaches his face.
Exchanges (resource guarding)
& Puppy Call
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"If your pup comes to you from a socially impoverished environment, you’ll already see the signs of neophobia. You have no time to lose, and you may never be able to make up all the ground he’s lost, but you can make him better than he’d be otherwise. Trainers talk about giving pups “100 new (positive) exposures in the first 100 days.” If your pup is already showing signs of timidity or fear, triple that to 300 exposures in 100 days. And get busy!" ~ Pat Miller (2009), author of, How to create a reliable, social, friendly, confident dog.
At about six to seven weeks... We also attempt to get the pups used to car rides in crates. Pups will be placed, two at a time, in a crate and taken for a car ride a 2-3 times per week. Therefore, your pup will be somewhat accustomed to a crate and a car ride, when he/she leaves for his or her forever home.
"There’s no such thing as overkill when it comes to properly done socialization. You can’t do too much. Pups who are super-socialized tend to assume that new things they meet later in life are safe and good until proven otherwise. Dogs who are very well-socialized as pups are least likely to develop aggressive behaviors in their lifetimes. Pups who aren’t well-socialized tend to be suspicious and fearful of new things they meet throughout their lives, and are most likely to eventually bite someone." ~ Pat Miller (2009), author of, How to create a reliable, social, friendly, confident dog.
At about eight to ten weeks ... We work with the pups on manding (similar to an automatic sit) resource guarding, barrier challenges, car rides in crates and other positive new experiences.