The second fear imprint phase in puppies takes place between eight and fourteen months of age. We have worked really hard from day one to expose Madison to as many places and things as possible to keep her from developing fears. Last week, Mom and Bailie took Madison for a walk at a new place where she could experience some more new things.
Fear in dogs is not the same as in humans. A dog may develop a fear of a leaf, or something that makes a sound, so exposure to lots of things is important. Going for walks and taking photos is also a great opportunity to work on basic training for sit, wait, etc. Just being in this gazebo is something new for Madison. She was not afraid to go in, but some dogs might be. It’s just one more thing a puppy can experience.
Walking around Cobblestone Lake a puppy will also learn to deal with bikes, skateboards, joggers, people fishing, and lots of kids, as the trail around the lake is in the middle of a housing development. Madison is working on resisting the urge to chase or try to jump on any of the things she sees while out and about.
The big test on the walk came towards the end when Mom had my sisters walk out to the end of the floating fishing pier. Mom fully expected Madison to flip out because the pier moves as you walk, and you can see through the boards, down into the lake. Amazingly, Madison had no problems at all, but Bailie was another story. Poor Bailie was scared to death, but with some patience and coaching, she too made it out to the end to pose for a photo.
No creature is completely without fear, but we hope Madison is developing a good base of experiences to help her out through her entire life. Now you know, you don’t have to do anything really out of the ordinary to work on keeping your puppy from being fearful! If you start desensitizing your puppy right away, you don’t need to worry so much about the second fear imprint phase because you work on fears every day anyway!