Proper puppy enrichment is so important in your dog’s development! Puppies grow up fast, and if you miss out on chances to accustom your puppy to the many factors they will encounter in life, she may have trouble being a balanced adult dog. The ages of eight to twelve weeks are especially important in a puppy’s socialization and fear development. Madison is now eleven weeks old. We picked her up at nine weeks old, two weeks ago today.
Luck is on our side with Madison as her breeder did a great job preparing her for many of the challenges life will present her with, but we cannot drop the ball! It would be irresponsible to not spend time preparing Madison for the future at this highly impressionable time in her puppy life.
Mom enrolled Madison in Puppy Einstein class which she started five days after arriving at our house. The class teaches puppies some basic commands, socialization with other dogs and people, and how to handle a few environmental challenges. Not only does Madison learn new things in class, she learns to be patient and wait her turn, she learns to ride in the car, and she learns to walk through a busy parking lot to get from the car to the school door. Madison also has homework to do each week.
Finding her place in our family is also a big task and an important socialization skill in the puppy enrichment process. Bailie was fearful of Madison at first. Madison kept on trying to win Bailie over for five days and the persistence paid off. They are now best friends and have way too much fun together.
You may remember the tunnel we bought when Bailie was a pup? Mom hauled it out this week on a rainy day, and check out how those two get their wild pants on! They are totally nuts, and Bailie is once again a total puppy! We are happy they are enjoying each other so much!
Madison is a smart puppy. She can read other dogs very well. It was obvious to her that I am the top dog at our house, which is why she showed her submissive behavior right away with me. Until she is fully vaccinated, we only let dogs we know socialize with Madison. Last week, a friend came by to meet Madison and she brought her dogs. Madison read each one, and knew who to leave alone, and who to play with. Some puppies don’t read other dogs well, but Madison does a good job of it.
I don’t play much with Madison, but I will give her a few sprints or circles now and then to let her know I’m not always a grumpy top dog. She has a lot of respect for me and I like it that way. Bailie can be her wild and crazy partner in crime!
When you get your puppy, you have a blank canvas, and it is your job to fill it correctly. In addition to the things I’ve mentioned above, we have also done other things to make sure Madison gets the most puppy enrichment we can give her.
- We had a puppy sitter at our house with her one day.
- Another day, Madison spent the day at the neighbor’s house while we were at an event.
- Madison goes with us to our nose work classes so she can learn to ride in the car, see new places, experience new sounds, and meet new people.
- She comes along to our nose work practice sessions with friends around the community.
- Her meals are served in a variety of ways – plastic dog bowl, metal bowl, plate, on the ground, out of the hand.
- Every morning, Madison tracks for her food, about 20 – 30 ft. right now, in the hope it will imprint in her mind to help her with tracking in the future.
- The paws are experiencing lots of different surfaces such as carpet, tile, linoleum, wood, concrete, grass, asphalt, street grates, wooden bridges.
- Mom checks her teeth, feels her body all over, and trims her nails to assure she is comfortable with being touched all over.
- There are many rules and boundaries for her to follow at home, in the car, and away from home.
It isn’t possible to expose Madison to everything, but we make sure she gets to experience as much as possible to help her navigate the world without fear. If you have a puppy, or are planning on getting a puppy, make sure to offer proper puppy enrichment for the good of your new furry friend! We got a lot of requests to see us three together, so we took this shot. The crazy puppy is still wild, but getting better at staying put for a few seconds at least!
Remember, if you enjoy seeing us in action, especially Madison, Instagram is the place to be. We post all kinds of fun photos and videos there.