For young SD candidates, 9-16 weeks old, I offer them lots of new experiences. I’ll start once or twice a day in quieter places, or allowing them just to watch busy things like kid’s ball games. I want to give them time to hear, smell, see and process everything before they have to interact.
The whole time they are being rewarded for watching without reacting, and rewarded even heavier when/if they lose interest in the goings on around them. Any attentiveness returned to me hits the love and treat jackpot.
This pic came from http://aspireofillinois.org/who-we-help/therapy_dogs.html
With my next puppy I’m going to try and get their Good Canine Citizen test done as soon as possible and get lightly involved in therapy dog work.
I’ll probably use an embroidered bandanna for therapy work, because I don’t want to confuse them later when they learn their harness means ignore people and petting. Puppies can make behavioral associations with equipment.
Here’s a document list of ideas for social experiences for your SD candidate SOCIALIZING from brand new beginners to more advanced and difficult outings. Take your time–don’t push a puppy into experiences that make them uncomfortable or you’ve defeated the purpose!
The idea of socializing is to let them become comfortable wherever they are, or learn to recompose themselves if something disturbs or startles them. A good habit to start is if something rattles them, coax them into investigating, and reward them heavily for checking it out.
A very good book for helping pups that react to certain triggers is “Control Unleashed”. http://www.controlunleashed.net/ The idea of socializing is to prevent reactivity but pups will almost always have something that upsets them.
And this book is solid gold at helping a puppy build their absolutely vital attentiveness to you!
My goal is to make public feel as much like home as home, so I begin to practice what they’re learning at home in public places that are quiet and they are familiar with.
Here is a document with a list of socializing opportunities you might want to try: SOCIALIZING