THIS INFORMATION WILL HELP YOU UNDERSTAND HOW IMPORTANT IS SOCIALIZATION, HOW YOU CAN AVOID BAD HABBITS, HOW YOU CAN HELP YOUR DOG UNDERSTAND THE WORLD AROUND AND HOW THEY CHANGE IN TIME. All this will help you raise very smart confident puppy, without fear aggression, false defense behavior and most important easy to train dog!
Puppies experience certain developmental periods during which they are more adaptive toward novel stimuli. If a puppy is not exposed to a wide variety of experiences during the critical social periods, behavioral problems are more likely to occur.
According to Scott and Fuller (1965, Bar Harbor, Maine Study) dogs have various critical social developmental periods during the first 21 weeks of their lives and is divided up into the following sub-periods:
Development and reflexive behavior periods (belong to breeder)
0-12 days – neonatal period
12-21 days -and transitional period
Social learning periods
Weeks 3 – 8 – learn to interact dog to dogs (belong to breeder)
Weeks 5-12 – learn to interact with humans
Weeks 10-21 – learn to investigate novel environments and stimuli
These studies have shown that if dogs are not exposed to the particular stimuli in above mention time frames, the dog has a higher risk of developing behavioral problems that are connected with these developmental periods i.e.
-Puppies that are taken away from there mothers before 8 weeks of age or that are hand-raised, will probably not interact normally with other dogs later in life.
-Puppies that do not see humans until 12 weeks may never develop proper dog-human interaction.
-Puppies that are not exposed to different environment and stimuli may become fearful, nervous, skittish, reactive and even defensive.
Transitional period (12 -21 days)
This period is marked by progressive neurological development with regards to locomotor ability. The mother is the puppy’s primary social object with the puppies only being vaguely aware of his littermates. During this period the eyes and ears open, the teeth emerges and the puppy develops more control over voluntary behavior. During this period the puppy begins to leave the cacoon like protection of mother and emerges into a field of widening sensory experiences.
The primary socialization period (3-5 weeks) belong to breeder!
During the secondary socialization period (6-12weeks) the process of bonding and social conditioning towards humans and the domestic environment is done. For most dogs this secondary socialization period starts once the puppy leaves its mother and littermates and joins a new household. The ideal age recommended by breeders to start adopting the puppies out is 8 weeks of age, as this is period where the mother shows an increase in irritability towards her litter and she is lactating less and less and shows little interest in nursing the pups. It is also usually around this time that maternal punishment peaks as puppies’ teeth are sharp as their appetites (Rheingold 1963, Wilson 1984/85). It is around this time that the mother has fulfilled her duties, both nutritionally and psychologically, thus making 8 weeks of age a very sensible time for final weaning.
Agonistic interaction between littermates also peaks at this time. Even if their aggressive play is not intended to hurt, the skills and attitudes developed by such agonistic play and competitiveness can have negative effects on their adult behavior.
The Rule of Seven and states that by the time the puppy is 7 weeks old it should have been exposed to the following situations:
Been in 7 different locations
Eaten from 7 different containers
Been in an alone-time-pen/area at least 7 times
Been exposed to 7 different contexts i.e. being groomed, having a photo taken etc.
Been played with by human and taken away from the mother without other littermates, 7 different times
Introduced to 7 different people, age, gender, race etc.
Played with 7 different toys
Ridden in car 7 times and more than 7 miles or more
THIS RULE CAN ALSO BE DONE BY THE OWNER. During quarantine time before vaccination and between ears cropping breeders are not always able to do all this, but new owner can do it right after taking puppy home. Its a rule of 7 but it can be done between 6 to 12 weeks old!
The strongest support for encouraging adoption during week 8 is the appearance of two opposing social dimensions (fear and attraction). Several motivational parameters associated with bonding and socialization peaks at this time. (Scott Fuller 1965). Distress vocalization and reactive behavior exhibited during brief isolation from littermates reaches its peak at around 7 weeks of age but undergoes a rapid decline through week 10. Also peaking at this time is a puppy’s willingness to approach strangers confidently and to investigate novel things with vigorous tail wagging. The balanced interplay of attraction and fear is fundamental to bonding and socialization in the broadest sense as puppies are now at their most prepared to experience the most efficient secondary socialization.
The stage of socialization with people – from 7 to 12 weeks of age. At this stage, the puppy learns how to adapt to life among people. Therefore, it is best that after the age of 7 weeks he can find himself in the house of the new owners. This does not mean, of course, that a puppy staying at home (breeder), having a lot of contact with people, staying with the breeder for longer, may harm. At this stage of development, it is good to carry out non-stress tests of the puppies’ character, which allow to determine the temperament and hereditary tendencies of the baby that are very different in individual puppies in a litter. Knowledge on this subject will allow you to choose a puppy in accordance with the expectations of future owners (especially important when the dog is to be with children). Although the future owners most often choose a puppy from a litter, an experienced and responsible breeder should suggest the right choice, or at least inform them about the results of the test trials and their observations of the puppies. Mental tests carried out with approximately 7 weeks old toddlers are the most reliable, because at this age the puppy has a small amount of acquired behavior, and their reactions mainly reflect inherited tendencies.
In a new home, contacts with household members and strangers should be as nice as possible. Avoid discipline the puppy too harshly, both by yelling and with physical punishments (this does not mean, of course, that the puppy should not be disciplined and allowed to do anything!). Between weeks 8 and 11, a puppy learns to feel fear, and if he experiences too much fear or pain during this period, he becomes overly anxious, and recovery is usually difficult. The new owner must treat the baby very gently at this stage of development, protecting him from all puppies injuries, and at the same time allow him to experience various positive experiences in many places and with many people (it is important, for example, the first visit to the veterinarian around week 12 with new owner , when the doctor can spend nice gentle the time with puppy) .
Dogs from “commercial” kennels, kept in pens and deprived of contact with humans (sometimes also with siblings), reaching their new owners after 14 weeks of age, show symptoms of kenelosis – the syndrome of deprivation of stimuli in puppy age. They have huge problems in establishing contact with humans and are extremely resistant to stress. However, they feel good in the company of other dogs.
Group placement stage – from 12 to 16 weeks of age.
During this time, the dog ceases to be a puppy and becomes a “teenager”. Very often no restrictions are placed on him in the human family/house ,he got privileges that he would never have had if he lived with his siblings and mother among dogs. From a human point of view, we still see a twelve or sixteen week old dog as a puppy and tolerate things in their behavior that we would never tolerate in an adult dog, forgetting that dogs develop immeasurably faster than humans. So this is the time when you can and should teach your dog the basic commands and principles of good manning, while continuing to familiarize himself with the environment and other dogs. For this purpose, you can use the help and experience of other dog lovers or the so-called canine kindergarten – places where young dogs meet regularly just to learn how to behave in a dog pack. BE CAREFUL (Puppy classes should be manage by experience educate persona/trainer with good mannered adult dogs or puppies similar age, otherwise this can lead to big issues in older age) Learning the right behavior and respect for the household is all the more important that the puppy, feeling more and more self-confident, tries to initially establish his place in it. Another very important thing happens at this stage of development. – The dog changes its teeth. This is always associated with excessive biting and destruction of everything that falls, and since a dog at this age must bite, you need to make sure that he has something suitable for chewing .
Escape stage – from 4 to 8 months.
It is around this time that the dog experiences what could be described as the call of freedom. Obediently until now, when he is called, he suddenly becomes deaf and walks away in the opposite direction. This is normal behavior in a wolf pack. At this time, the young male starts looking for a sexual partner and the young female has her first heat. At that time, it separates itself from the herd to explore the area on its own. This is the age that corresponds to the age of fourteen or sixteen for humans.
Of course, it is not the case that the dog is constantly and constantly running away – sometimes it takes several days, sometimes even a month, and further problems with coming on call arise most often when the dog discovers that disobedience and an independent trip are great fun. It is important at this time not to punish a dog that has returned from such an expedition. It also helps to walk in unfamiliar terrain, where the dog feels less confident and does not move away from his owner so willingly.
The maturation period – from 6 to 14 months.
Both in the body of adolescent bitches and dogs, there are large hormonal changes during this period. As with human adolescents who experience a period of “storm and pressure”, canine adolescents have similar problems. As the body struggles to establish a new hormonal balance, excessive or even incomprehensible responses and behaviors can arise. Until now, indifferent objects or phenomena may cause fear or aggression. The behavior of the owner at this time may affect the pet’s tendencies later. Both punishing a dog and trying to cheer or calm him down can perpetuate undesirable behavior, while keeping calm and ignoring such reactions shows dogs that there is nothing to fuss about.
Mature age – from 1 to 4 years
Until approximately 4 months of age, the stages of development of dogs of different breeds overlap. Later on, there are some differences depending on the breed and size of the dog. Small breed dogs enter each phase faster than large breed dogs. Thus, the period of puberty to full maturity takes from one to four years, depending on size and race. In the period of entering adulthood, there is a need for a relatively permanent place in the social group consisting of members of the human family and sometimes other dogs. If the dog has learned to use many privileges in the stage of initial positioning in the group (12-16 weeks) or if its inappropriate behavior has not been corrected, and it has a high temperament, it will often try to consolidate these behaviors. If the owners allow him to do so, and then try to subjugate him, they may face open aggression. Proper relationship with a dog is based on the fact that the human controls the dog’s behavior and the dog obeys his commands. This position is achieved, of course, without a fight, by systematically, consistently and calmly teaching the dog that obedience brings more benefits than inappropriate behavior. It also happens that the dog’s position is unclear and not fully determined, and the dog receives contradictory signals from the household members – on the one hand, permission and often unconscious rewarding of undesirable behavior in one situation or time and punishing the same behavior in another. It can result in behavioral difficulties ranging from disobedience to aggression.
Choose a trainer who has not only experience but practice, supported by education, certifications, seminars, titles etc… The trainer’s lack of elementary knowledge may result in opposite training effects. Make sure you choose an experienced trainer in breed or similar breeds. Do not be influenced by distance or the price because a cheap trainer can do damage that will later cost you much more to fix it. DO NOT HARM- This should be the motto of the dog trainers. Unfortunately, money often takes precedence over reason and the owners’ laziness over rationale. Bad training is worse than no training. Make sure that the trainer you have chosen is able to prove to you his experience and has the appropriate documents confirming the practice and knowledge! If you dont understand your trainer , you should change right away. If you dont understand how your dog will? Your decisions will effect your dog life, make sure you do it right for his safety. Cane Corso is not friendly breed, raising them in proper way is the key for success!
GOOD LUCK !
HOW TO INTRODUCE YOUR CANE CORSO WITH RANDOM PEOPLE ?
Use your Manners! The Sniff test – Stop doing that!
The sniff test – a badly engrained habit that society has been taught, without a clear understanding of what they’re actually doing.
When you reach out towards a dog, you are using body pressure AT them, giving them no time to assess whether you are safe & whether they require further investigation to pick up your information. You are forcing an interaction of a relationship that hasn’t had time to develop. To some dogs, this is quite rude & the reason a lot of dogs snap at or bite people. This can cause alot of behavioral issues because of layered stress due to forced interactions.
If they are on lead, they have no where to go if they are sensitive to spacial pressure, so can end up shutting down, shying away or snapping at your hand so you back off. This is an example of how a dog is now using pressure to turn off pressure & make you back off so they aren’t so stressed.
People think by offering your hand it can give the dog time to sniff to know you’re friendly… they can sniff without being forced to sniff your hand.Their noses are far more superior than ours & they don’t need close contact forced upon them to smell you.
Some dogs might not want to know you. You have no relationship with them and that’s perfectly fine. They aren’t your dog so you don’t need to touch them or steal pats for your own satisfaction.
If you are meeting a dog, what should you do?
Ask the owner if you can interact with their dog. Not all people want strangers touching their dogs. Especially strangers who you are unlikely to see again.
Stand up straight & relaxed, with your hands at your side.
Ignore the dog & talk to the owner.
Don’t stare at the dog & don’t try to force an interaction by going in for a pat. If the dog wants to know you, it will come up to you & sniff around. Usually they will move away & then come back for a second sniffathon. Some dogs will bunt your hands & wag their tails, which are good signs that you’re likely an accepted new friend. Give them a few slow pats down their back (NOT THEIR HEAD) & then stop. Is the dog happy? Has it accepted your interaction? This will determine whether you can give it more pats.
This is a more stress free option for dogs & a reason why in consultations we can develop a good level of trust, especially with fearful dogs & aggressive dogs, without a bunch of negative side effects from forced interactions.