Sunday, June 29, 2014


Pups that are denied play activity until they are twelve weeks old can develop strange behaviors such as self-mutilation (licking until there is a sore, etc.) to relieve their tension. The further price these puppies have to pay (besides missing out on playing!) is that they learn less well, are more insecure and antisocial, are often afraid of people, noises and other animals and are reluctant to explore.
Play activity during the socialization period teaches a pup to have a soft mouth (the “inhibited bite” learned from his littermates’ squeals when he bites too hard) and how to greet an unknown dog. If puppies don’t play with other pups at this stage, they may become too attached to people and be fearful of other dogs.

A puppy that is isolated at any point during the socialization period will have an impaired learning response: his ability to learn is damaged for the rest of his life. Studies have shown actual  changes in the growing brain of a puppy that is cut off from his littermates and people for even one week. Puppies should not be left alone for long periods. They should not be shut away in isolation as a form of punishment when they are developing, because it will stunt their emotional growth.
Copyright © Tracie Hotchner – Originally appeared in The Dog Bible: Everything Your Dog Wants You to Know by Tracie Hotchner 

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