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[MUSIC PLAYING] Up until now, we've had the luxury of being able to encourage a startle recovery response in the puppies without worrying about true fear. As the puppies approach 5 weeks of age, however, the game changes. The puppies develop a true fear response, and can go through a mild fear-imprinting period. So more caution is warranted. So an important part to recognize during the socialization period is something we call fear period. And that's a time of particular sensitivity where we find puppies are very susceptible to something called a single-event learning, where one single frightening experience can affect them for the rest of their lives. These fear-imprinting periods present themselves as sudden spikes and fear usually somewhere around 5 weeks, and then again much stronger at around 8 weeks old. Fear normally levels off at around 10 weeks, and this will become the puppy's normal sensitivity to fear as an adult. This emotional sensitivity that they have between 3 and 12 weeks of age that allows them to retain positive experiences to learn that things, beings, places are safe also gives them that sensitivity to experience fear and to learn that things are scary and dangerous. So they can be particularly sensitive to negative experience as well, as they are sensitive to good experiences. So you have to find a balance. This means, as dog breeders and puppy owners, we have to make sure that our puppies are getting all the enriching experiences, as much exposure possible. But always, we need to err on the side of caution, and make sure that our puppies don't have any really bad experiences. So beginning when the puppies are 5 weeks old, you may begin to see fearful reactions to things that the puppies had never been afraid of before. Here's Rocco playing happily in the living room at 34 days. He's just one day shy of 5 weeks old. Now, here's Rocco two days later at 36 days old. He's been playing in the living room since he could walk, and he's suddenly afraid to come out. Now, here's Betty at 34 days-- happy as a clam. Two days later, just like Rocco, she's suddenly afraid. Especially if you've worked with your puppies a lot, you may really not see an obvious fear response at 5 weeks old. Or you may see it come and go so quickly that you're not even really sure it happens. But what you have to realize is, even if you've worked with the puppy a lot and conditioned them so well that they bounce back really quickly, the underlying process is still there that, the puppy is in a sensitive fear period around this time. So you should proceed accordingly and with more caution than you were before. The puppy should continue to visit with other friendly dogs in the household. But, now that the puppies are sensitive to fear, the encounters need to be structured so that the puppies feel safe. And in order to feel safe, the puppy has to feel he's in control of the situation. Here, Rocco is horrified by his aunt and grandmother because he's totally exposed and has nowhere to hide. Just as you provided high places for the big dogs to get away from relentless puppies, you should provide low places where the puppies can escape from overenthusiastic adults. Give the puppies a low table or chair that they can retreat under. Let the puppy take it at his own pace, and don't try and lure or force him out. Once he's comfortable that he can retreat if he wants to, his confidence will build quickly. It's important to keep developing the puppy's ability to recover from fear by introducing challenging and startling things on a daily basis. [MUSIC PLAYING] Especially at this stage, you don't want to induce a huge fear response in the puppy. A tiny startle and recovery, like Betty is showing here at 36 days old, is perfect. If the puppy is not recovering almost immediately, you need to take it back a notch and start with less scary things. Keep presenting scary things to him, but just not quite as scary. You want to see an almost-immediate recovery. Here, we're putting down a folded exercise pen with a tarp over it. The unstable, crackly surface is somewhat scary, but the puppies enjoy the challenge and begin to play on it almost immediately. [RUFFLING SOUNDS] All except for one, that is. Rocco is terrified of the tarp. Because he's been raised to be an enrichment seeker, he really tries his hardest to overcome his fear but it's just too much for him. The fact that Rocco showed more fear than his littermates on the tarp does not mean that he's going to grow up to be an abnormally fearful adult. What it does mean is that he's probably more sensitive to fear-imprinting during this critical period. So we have to be very careful that all of his experiences are positive and give him training, which will teach him to cope with his fears. So we're going to help Rocco overcome his fear of the tarp by introducing him to something that's crinkly like the tarp, but not so scary, like this baby wipe container. [MUSIC PLAYING] Great. And then work our way up to using the tarp. Oh. Yes, good boy. During this peak time of the socialization period, puppies value social interaction very, very highly. Good boy. Good boy. I'm using social interaction-- praise, petting, and play-- to reinforce Rocco's action of touching the scary objects. Notice that I do not try to coax Rocco onto the tarp. That's awfully good. I remain impassive until he makes a brave move, and then I shower him with praise and affection. In this way, I'm reinforcing the behavior of interacting with the tarp. If I cheerleadered him when he was afraid and not touching the tarp, it might seem like a nice encouraging thing to do. But, in fact, I'd be reinforcing the behavior and being afraid of the tarp. Seeing a puppy like Rocco so pleased with himself because he overcame his fear, and knowing that you helped him overcome that fear, is one of the best feelings you can have. You did well! You did well on the tarp. You did. You did well on the tarp. There's some disagreement about how to handle fear in dogs and in puppies. One camp says that you should never comfort a fearful dog because you would be, by offering that physical comfort and social interaction, reinforcing the fear. And then, there's another school that says that it's barbaric not to comfort a fearful animal. And they point to studies that show that comforting a fearful animal actually lowers blood pressure and does truly calm and comfort the animal. And my answer is they're both right. What we are doing is providing the puppy with very low levels of fearful experience. So, in essence, he can be inoculated against the fear. If we comfort a puppy when we're giving them this little bit of fear, and we don't allow him to overcome it, we would be reinforcing that fear and creating a fearful dog. You should never be presenting something that is truly terrifying to the puppy. And if something, by chance, truly terrifying does happen to the puppy, it would be cruel not to comfort that puppy. It would be wrong not to comfort that puppy. But other than those terrifying experiences, in our routine presentation of fear and recovery exercises, we should not be comforting those puppies because we want to teach them how to take care of themselves. [FOOTSTEPS] Yay, Betty.

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Duration: 9 minutes and 19 seconds
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Language: English
License: Dotsub - Standard License
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Views: 6
Posted by: norabean on Apr 2, 2018

9PCVOD

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