Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A discussion about fear/confidence

Last week after having the puppies out to the training yard and having a lot of new things for them to explore and investigate I blogged about it and how surprised I was about their level of confidence.  Sara Watson, a good friend of mine, fellow dog trainer and Basset Hound breeder commented that she thought it was completely normal for them to be this confident at 5 weeks.  She was confused by my (and Sharon and Sue's) surprise about this.  Which of course got us talking about this in depth (which is happens when you get two dog trainer/behavior consultant/dog breeder geeks talking about the behavior of 5 week old puppies).

I felt sure that these puppies were more confident than other puppies at this age.  Then Sara asked, "Are you sure you aren't thinking of them at 8 weeks?".  Well, I was sure, but now, not so much.  The truth is, I can't say for sure.  At first I thought I had not done this type of work with them before, but then I distinctly remember taking one of Ivy's litters outside (which are now 9 and 11 years old) and putting long boxes for them to run through as well as other items for them to investigate.  Come to think of it, I don't remember them being afraid either.  So, maybe all of our past litters were this confident and I forgot? 

Sue, Sharon and I discussed it and what we expected to see was the puppies huddle together for a few minutes, looking at things, soaking up the environment, then begin to spread out and check everything out.  This is very different from what they did which was scatter and immediately start running to everyone and everything.  It wasn't like we thought they would be afraid or anything, just that they would need a moment to soak it in, but they didn't. 

Sara thinks that we just forgot the age and it may have been closer to 8 weeks in the past when the puppies would likely be more cautious.  She could be right, I'm not sure now.  All I am sure about is that I am really happy with how these puppies are coming along.  This conversation has pushed me to pull out all my puppy raising books and go over all the information on developmental periods so that the information is fresh in my mind.  It has also convinced me how important it is to take notes and keep records of all of this stuff so that the next time, I won't be back here wondering when everything happened.

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