This post I am writing with a heavy heart and it is going to annoy a few people I am sure. This is about adopting dogs online, from rescue centers or even from private individuals. This week I saw two dogs who were ordered “online”. In the first case, a couple adopted a dog online to replace a dog who died. In the second case somebody adopted a dog online as companion. In one case it ended up in tears and heartache and in the other case it is quickly moving in the same direction. So what went wrong?
We often think that hand-rearing a puppy will ensure that the puppy grows up to be the perfect dog because you can shape his behavior from a very young age. However, this is such a false belief as there will be other contributing factors like genetics that will help shape a puppy into the dog you will become to know and love. For this article, though, we will only discuss why we should allow puppies to stay with mom and siblings until at least eight weeks of age for this article. So, the question is, why does it matter at what age you get a puppy?
What is Socialization?
Socialization creates purposeful, positive experiences for your puppy to prepare him for life in the human world. A puppy will go through a developmental phase known as the critical socialization window between four and sixteen weeks of age. During this period, puppies learn about the world around them and are usually curious and resilient. During this time brain development happens very rapidly, and all experiences (negative and positive) will be remembered.
A dog urinating on objects, usually vertical, is a normal, instinctive social behaviour. Dogs mark their territory by urinating on certain objects within their territory. The dog returns to these spots on occasion to renew this olfactory mark. Usually the amount of urine produced is a smaller amount than when the dog relieves himself. Marking often occurs in areas where other dogs have urine marked or left their odour. Although more commonly seen in intact males, neutered males and females also mark.
I had a rather unpleasant experience recently with a person who wanted help with a reactive dog, but wanted me to guarantee that I could “fix” the problem, before agreeing to book a consultation. When I tried to explain that I could not make such guarantees and sent the person details on how we would approach this type of problem, as well as factors that might influence the outcome, to help her make an informed decision as to whether she wanted to proceed,she refused to read the information (because, in her own words, it was too much effort) and insisted again that I guarantee a result. At that point I responded that I was obviously not what she was looking for.
George van Huyssteen (DipCABT)
Practitioner Member CAPBT International
Garden Route, South Africa
Petra du Toit (CPDT-KA)
SABCAP Companion Animal Behaviorist (AB/013)
SABCAP Dog Training Professional (DT/015)