Personality imprint & Socialisation of Labradors pups

Socialisation from 8 to 16 weeks of age

A pups personality imprint occurs during the socialisation period from eight weeks of age. And this is the time that you take your pup to their new home. There is an obvious genetic personality shape for each individual dog. Nevertheless, the personality of your new pup with be almost completely dependent on how you treat and raise them. If you give the pup affection then you will fashion your pup accordingly. If you give structured discipline and training you will shape their behaviour and responses. 

I recommend that you feed and train you new pup on a lead. Use the restraint of a lead teach them to sit and stay before you give them their food. Labradors love structure in their lives. If you are aggressive then they will either mirror your behaviour or alternatively, the pup may become fearfully timid. It is essential that you socialise you new pup with other dogs and people during this critical development period to 16 weeks of age. If you don't socialise the pup with dogs it will become either overly timid or aggressive to others.

 At eight weeks of age, the awareness and education of Labrador puppies escalates. You will be taking your new Lab to their new home at this age and your puppy will begin to know and understand your expectations. Your Lab puppy will be enthusiastic and will need to be trained towards these expectations as your pet. Whatever they learn will have a lasting impact and everything they come into contact with will make a lasting impression upon them. 

Even though they have a short attention span of about 5 seconds, you need to be careful with the behaviours your Lab puppy is learning because whatever they learn is permanent and they are resistant to change. Establish the rules that you expect your puppy to obey while he is young and behaviours are easy to establish. How your pet interacts with you is determined during puppyhood. Whatever they do as a puppy is what they will do as an adult, so don't allow your puppy to do things that will be unacceptable as an adult Labrador.

From eight weeks of age, you will begin to get to know your puppy's personality and appreciate the things that make them so endearing. They can be strong-willed, eager to please, gentle or assertive, shy or outgoing. Whatever the personality of your new Labrador pup, this is an exciting and confusing time for them. There is a whole new vista of things to learn and experience. Puppies are learning how to adapt to the routines, patterns and general vibe of their new home. All at once, they will be learning how to interact with people and other animals.

All the behaviours and disciplines which you require must be learned. You will impose many important demands on your puppy. And you will need to help your little Lab to transition to their new environment. You will need to lay a groundwork of a trusting, happy and satisfying relationship. Puppies are less likely to embrace their experiences if they are insecure. Very young labrador puppies approach new things tentatively. If you give your puppy gradual exposure to new experiences they will grow in confidence. However, if you don't expose your puppy to a variety of new situations and environments, inappropriate behaviours may be learned.

During the socialisation period, the fear imprint period occurs from 8-11 weeks. Avoid stressful situations. More than any other time, traumatic, painful or frightening experiences will have a severe and lasting impact on your pup. For example, an unpleasant experience with a vet could make your dog permanently apprehensive about vet visits. Avoid negative associations by giving them treats while you wait. Play with your puppy and offer him treats along with lots of praise and comfort before and after the examination.

Remember that Labrador pups are social creatures.

Remember that Labrador pups are social creatures. During the socialisation period your newest companion needs to interact regularly with people and other dogs. Dogs that are denied socialisation during this critical period can become unpredictable. During this time, your Labrador pup needs to have positive experiences with other people and dogs or they might become fearful or aggressive. Therefore, you need to socialise and teach your puppy how to interact with people and other dogs in a positive manner. Gradually but repetitively introduce your puppy to new experiences, environments and people. However, take care socialising your puppy with unknown dogs before they receive their first three booster vaccinations, particularly for parvovirus.

Shopping centers, parks and playgrounds are good places to expose and socialise your Lab pup. Begin by giving them time to get used to the new places you are taking them. Make sure they are secure. If your pup is not familiar with children, then have them interact with children as often as possible. If you live alone, make an effort to have friends visit you so that your dog will become accustomed to people. Puppy obedience classes are a great way to get them exposed to and socialised with other dogs. Take your pup to fun places. If you can, allow your Lab puppy to get accustomed to riding in the car by taking them with you one short trips. Remember, if new experiences are overwhelming or negative, the results could be traumatic.

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