At What Age To Educate Your Puppy?
If you have adopted a puppy, whether it’s your first experience or not, there are some aspects to know if you want to lay the foundations for a peaceful coexistence with him. So let’s see at what age we should start talking about puppy classes, what the benefits are and how this affects the life of the adult dog and the owner who accompanies him.
At 2 months, the age at which I recommend to adopt a dog, the little one has a still very malleable mind and therefore is the best time for :
- expose him to sensory stimuli (visual, auditory, olfactory, tactile and kinaesthetic);
- complete the phase of socialization with dogs and humans;
- accustom him to the lifestyle that awaits him;
- teach him the first rules and signals of obedience.
I am often asked by the owners if it is better to wait for the 5-6 months of age of the puppy to start a puppy class, an educational course designed specifically for dogs under 6 months of age.
The answer is no and I’ll explain why.
Let’s take, for example, the brain of an Abruzzi maremmano puppy:
- at birth measures 10 cm³;
- at 16 weeks of age he measures 80;
- at 1 year 100;
- after the year its volume remains unchanged.
If the number of cells is the same since the birth of the dog and throughout his life, what increases the volume are the connections between the different cells of the brain and between these and those of other parts of the body. Let me explain myself better. Based on my puppy’s experiences and the stimuli I expose him to when he is young, I will allow his mind to develop those areas and, consequently, those skills that the dog could not develop otherwise.
If, for example, a puppy lived in the dark in the first months of life, his brain would not develop those connections and those areas dedicated to the sight or if a dog from birth did not meet other humans outside the owners, as an adult he would not be able to generalize and recognize, in every new person he meets, a member of the human category.
So, for example, even the socialization with dogs and humans (or cats, if it will live in a context where there will be the latter) is complete in the first months of life, if we want to have an adult who relates with serenity to individuals of these species. This is the reason why, for example, the tidal pup intended to guard a flock, is made to socialize with the sheep within the first 4 months of life!
In the same way, the baby must be accustomed from the beginning to the noise of the vacuum cleaner, the lawnmower, the hairdryer, to travel by car, the carrier and everything that will be part of its future life.
Puppies that grow up in environments with a reduced number of stimuli have a reduced brain: it follows, therefore, that experiences at an early age definitely affect the brain development of the dog.
In a puppy course, which I recommend starting at 2-3 months, the owner is accompanied in this wonderful phase of the life of his dog with suggestions, ideas, advice but also with games and exercises that allow the child to have sensory experiences and socialization and the owner to better understand the psychology and needs of his animal. In this path, the human learns to read the body language of his dog and to manage it in various situations and the quadruped to respond to the first commands that will allow him to share much of his time with the owner. Because, let’s face it, who wouldn’t take a dog on holiday with him who is in the hotel without doing any damage, doesn’t pull on a leash, responds to the call and gets along with humans and dogs?!
The advice I can give you is to start with the right leg and foot, starting as soon as possible to act on the 4 points mentioned at the beginning, better if you are followed by an expert in the field, at least in this first and so important step.