Learning Objectives

One of the most important things we can do for our puppy is to teach them resilience so that they can bounce back from spooky incidents quickly and without lasting trauma. Novel items are the mortal enemy for most dogs and for good reason! If it’s not familiar and predictable, then it must be unsafe. Anything unsafe is a threat and a threat must be avoided or eliminated (fight or flight). 

When puppies are young, they are either spooked by novel items or they are indifferent or they are confidently curious. This tells us a lot about how they may grow up so we must watch closely. 

Rather than leaving it to chance, however, it is best to start creating positive associations immediately and continuing to do so throughout adolescence until adulthood. This is the best behavioural vaccine we can give them as they will grow and learn to generalise this optimism about novel items. 

This module is all about creating a positive association with novel items; anything new or potentially scary. That could be anything from an umbrella, a skateboard, a scooter, a hair dryer, a traffic cone, garbage bins, etc…

Again, this is considered a “behavioural vaccine” that prevents fear and aggression from developing later. This exercise is NOT considered “behaviour change” so even if your dog seems “fine” around these right now, still do the work! You’ll thank us for it later. We will also work on a couple of important behaviours for puppies: eye contact, and drop it.