From the moment my Japanese Akita was born until they day she left for her new home at 12 weeks Claire & Aaron Matthews were consistently working on socializing all of the puppies from her litter with all different kinds of experiences. My pup was able to experience different environments, sounds, surfaces, toys, and different people all before she was 12 weeks old.
People always ask me what I mean by the rule of 7. This is something that whether I am teaching a group class or doing a private lesson I make it a priority for all puppies to experience at some point before the age of 4 months. Even if your puppy didn’t get to experience all of the rule of 7’s before…it’s never too late to start.
Been in 7 different environments. This could include inside your house, your backyard, a training facility, a local park, a local pet supply company, etc.
Have met at least 7 different types of people. People of all ages from young children, adults, and seniors. People with physical and intellectual disabilities. Encourage your dog that wheelchairs or walkers are OK!
Heard 7 different types of sounds. This can include thunder, fireworks, motorcycles, buzzers, alarm clocks, music, etc.
Puppy has played with 7 different types of toys. Toys can range from tug toys, kongs, balls, stuffed animals, squeaky toys, plastic items, etc.
Eaten from 7 different food containers and in 7 different places. This can include their own bowl and your hands. Move the location of the food so your puppy doesn’t get set on eating in only one location.
Been exposed to 7 different types of surfaces. This could include going through a tunnel, going up/down stairs, sand, wood, etc.
Meet 7 different types of animals (if possible). This should be easy if you are in an all breed class for dogs but if you have the opportunity don’t be afraid to have your puppy see horses, cats, cows, sheep, etc.
When exposing your pup to these new situations take it slow and make it positive. Do not force your puppy do to something or they will end up not liking it at all. Instead, build their confidence with rewards and praise. A well-socialized pup will be a better-behaved adult dog that will be easier and safer to handle.
Lastly, keep the challenges coming!