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[MUSIC PLAYING] The critical socialization period in dogs is scientifically defined to run approximately from the time the puppy is three weeks through 12 weeks old. That's not to say that an older puppy or dog can't be trained and integrated into society, but it's a different process than socialization. The chief characteristic of the critical socialization period is the ease with which we can form the puppy's attitudes and behavior. This period of flexibility is biologically determined and forever lost after the critical socialization period is over. As you can see, it takes almost no effort to shape the behavior or emotion of a young puppy. Often as little as one exposure is enough to shape a young puppy to learn something or accept something new. As the puppy grows older, however, more exposures over time are required to achieve the same result. By the time the puppy's five months to a year old, it can take months to achieve the same effect you could have gotten in just a couple exposures when the puppy was under 12 weeks old, and there may be practical limits to how much you can make up for what was missed. To learn more about the critical socialization period in dogs, we visited Dr. Meghan Herron, head of the veterinary behavior department at Ohio State University. Dr. Herron established Ohio State's veterinary behavior department, and she's consulted on over 2,000 canine behavioral cases. While many dog trainers refer to themselves as behaviorists, Dr. Herron has the science-based training and certification to make that title meaningful. Dr. Herron spoke with us about the biology behind the critical socialization period. So the sensitive socialization period in puppies is much earlier than a lot of people realize. It starts around three weeks of age and we recognize that time point as this is the time where they can see and hear and basically have all their faculties about them so that they are actually able to be socialized. It's an evolutionary or biological programming for these puppies, that the brain is a sponge, the brain is prepared to just take in information and learn what is safe during that time frame. And that period extends to about 12 weeks, where really, the brain chemistry is developing and that window of opportunity is starting to close. After 12 weeks of age, what they're exposed to at that point is what we would consider novelty. And at that point, the brain is starting to program, to sense that novelty is potentially dangerous, and that means they may be afraid of it. So for example, if you have a puppy that was not taught that young children are safe during that time frame, when they are approached by a child at say even six or eight months of age, their brain is programmed to say, this is something new, this is something different, this is something potentially dangerous, and then they can become afraid of that. And by being afraid, a lot of animals, a lot of dogs will express that fear by using aggression. The term socialization really only applies to puppies between 3 and 12 weeks of age. Socialization does not exist beyond that point. That's that time where the brain is a sponge, that only sensitive, magical time where we can put this much effort in and get this much of a response, because that's how the brain is designed to respond during that time frame. After that point, if you have a puppy six, seven, eight months of age, we can't just socialize them. Now we have the ability to condition them, to desensitize them, and actually teach them that things are safe, but it's a much harder process, a much longer process, and it doesn't always work, because that brain chemistry just isn't the same. Puppies have to learn to be dogs, and they do this through socialization. Socialization is more than just exposure, it's the complex process by which the puppy gains the knowledge and skills he needs to take his place in society and form the social and emotional bonds that define all of us, dog and human alike. What's tricky with dogs is that they have to go through two concurrent socialization processes. They have to become functioning members of society and also of human society, which can be very different from each other. When most people think of socialization, they think of exposing their puppy to as many new places, animals, and people as possible when the puppy is young. While this is certainly a crucial component of the socialization process, to us, it's not enough. We want to raise dogs who have the emotional intelligence to connect with you on a deep and trusting level, and that's a very different thing. The good news is that emotional intelligence can be taught to young puppies during the socialization process, and this film is dedicated to showing you how to do it. You're about to get an inside look into the puppy culture socialization program, which is always in service to the following seven key things that will nurture the emotional intelligence of the puppy and enable him to make the connections that define the human-animal bond. First, communication. Dog and human language skills. Second, emotional stability. The ability to recover easily from fear, as well as cope with stress and frustration in a socially acceptable manner. Third, habituation. Familiarity with the maximum number of things. Facilitation of the so what response. Four, enrichment. The view that novelty and challenges are opportunities for enrichment rather than things to be feared or avoided. Fifth, health. The physical wellness and motor skills that will allow the puppy to develop in a neurologically and physically sound way. Sixth, skills. Learned behaviors which allow him to function in human society. Seventh, love. The desire to seek out the company of both dogs and humans as emotionally positive experiences.

Video Details

Duration: 7 minutes and 37 seconds
Language: English
License: Dotsub - Standard License
Genre: None
Views: 7
Posted by: norabean on Apr 2, 2018


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