Puppies are blank slates. They don't have any bad habits. They need to learn everything. Take some time when your pup is still a pup and teach them good habits instead of letting them develop bad ones.
We had three pups at a recent Puppy Social. Two of them were terrier mixes and one was a sporting dog. They were all babies and all of them had different personalities.
The youngest, the sporting dog, had the least experience of course. He was tentative, but curious. He wanted to explore at his own pace and not be bothered by the other two (quite rambunctious and friendly) pups.
At Puppy Social, we let pups explore their surroundings on their own schedule. I like to look at each pup and get a feel for them. This little sporting dog was definitely feeling out of his element. He has another dog at home, an adolescent sporting dog. He gets along great with his big brother, but when meeting new friends, he's a bit on the shy side.
There's nothing wrong with that. But it does mean that the owner will have to do a little more work getting the little guy out and about, allowing him to experience the world as pleasant and fun.
The socialization window closes between 16 and 20 weeks of age – you don't have long to get your pup out to explore the world. So don't wait – get your really good treats, get your pup and go out and take lots of walks where you can show your pup how wonderful the world can be. Let your pup explore at his own pace – never force your pup to go meet another dog, person, or object. If your pup looks scared, create a safe-zone where the pup can look, but can't be reached by whatever he finds scary.
Just getting your pup out and having fun with him will go a long way to developing your pup into a well-adjusted dog.
As Talos' time with us comes to an end, it's dawning on us that we'll be bringing a new pup into our home soon. I'm already thinking of socialization opportunities for the new pup. It's never too early to start planning!