Posted by OwyheeStar
~ Human and with Littermates
The raising puppies and litter socialization has seen a lot of ink. There are different philosophies. Some variances are due to a particular breed. Personal preference, and in some cases scientific evidence define the protocol. It was once commonplace to pick up a puppy at five or six weeks of age. We now this is not in a pups best interest.
Important things are happening within the litter from day one; however, from day thirty-five to the departure (around eight weeks of age) the litter hierarchy and interaction is vital to development. These lessons impact the Weimaraner’s future. It doesn’t mean that raising the Weim pup will be easy; nevertheless, these lessons cannot be short-changed. They are the foundation for socialization and the maturing process. Litter interaction is not the end of the socialization process. The first three years of their life (and especially the first eighteen months) require a concerted effort. Regardless, what seems like play is invaluable.
A breeder has to manage the socialization and at the same time balance it with risk. Parvo being tracking onto the property would be a tragedy. Shoes must be sanitized, and access has to be limited. A constant stream of visitors would not be a healthy situation. Nevertheless, it is important to take advantage of the perfect opportunity. We believe it is important to have a child touch or handle a pup somewhere along the way as well as to have both female and males in the loop. The pups gain a lot of the experience, and their senses pick up on the different types of handling as well as the scents.
Exposing the pups to various experiences is also important. Not every litter can have the same exact experience. Summer pups are not going to experience snow. They should experience water–we like to swim the pups when possible.
Once they join their forever family, the process continues. Some recommend one hundred touches in a hundred days. This process has to be carefully managed too. Limiting risk (exposure to the Parvo virus as well as other dangers–aggressive dogs and some scary humans) is vital. Knowing how to react when something goes awry is equally important. Pups need to learn to love to meet people and other dogs. Each experience should be a building block. They also need to acquire skills that make them good citizens. Socialization takes place whether you guide it in the right direction or not. We want the best possible outcome–this is going to require you being an excellent handler/leader and getting involved in a positive classroom setting.