Monday, September 20, 2010
An Important "Birthday"
We passed an important milestone today here at Casa de EeeBee Life. Kai is 20 weeks old today!
Week-birthdays aren’t usually important, but this one is. As doggy socialization goes, the weeks of a dog’s life between 8 and 20 are the ones where you set the basic level of socialization for the puppy’s entire life. (With the 9-12 week period being the absolutely most vital.) Before 8 weeks, the puppy is learning things from his dam and litter. After, it’s up to you, the owner.
It’s generally recommended that dogs meet 100 dogs and 200 people in the magick 8-20 week period, and encounter as many new and different situations as possible. This takes way more time than you’d think, and was hard enough with Lance. (Meeting all those people is especially difficult and exhausting when you’re an extreme introvert, as I am.) Because Kai was taken from his litter early, we decided to double that number—our goal was 200 dogs and 400 people. Add to that our recent financial issues and my problems with LD-related Chronic Fatigue, and you begin to see the enormity of our task.
Add to all of this the training that needs to occur during that time, and those 84 days feel like you don’t have time for anything at all but puppy-related activities. Your entire life revolves around dog stuff. If you’re not training at home or taking them for a walk or to the dog park, you’re on your way to puppy class or packing them in the car to drive them to something they’ve never experienced before. You have no time for friends or hobbies or sometimes even chores. (Not that I’m one to complain about that. LOL!)
At which point you’re probably wondering why we go through it all. We do it because we really do like dogs, and because we want to be able to take our dogs anywhere and everywhere with us. And we want them to behave themselves and mind their manners no matter where that is.
Nonetheless, I’m glad that this intense period is over. We’ll have to keep taking them to new places, exposing them to new situations, and meeting new people and new dogs all their lives to not lose the level of socialization we’ve achieved, but it won’t be anywhere near this demanding from now on.
At least not until the next puppy. ;>
(For Kai’s POV, head on over to Mission Accomplished (Sorta).)