What next? How do we maintain this process? How long do we have to do this?

A puppy’s critical socialisation period is from 5 weeks to 14 weeks (some might argue 12 weeks, even!) and in that time, we have a lot of work to do to fill their brain with positive associations.

Once your puppy is past 14 weeks, that doesn’t mean that the work is done, it simply means the easy part of the work is done. (Did you just fall off your chair? I know…) From this point forward, you’re going to have to work harder to create positive associations and watch closely for signs of fear, apprehension, anxiety, hesitation, whatever you want to call it.

Because I specialise in aggression, I do have a bias because of what I see on a daily basis. Fear and aggression are common in dogs, unfortunately…and they are mostly preventable with the right socialisation and early intervention. As a result, I suggest that you continue to “socialise” your puppy for the first year and a half of life and keep a close watch on their behaviour changes as they pass through adolescence and approach adulthood.

Every developmental stage presents different challenges and these challenges are often amplified versions of what we see in puppyhood. You can change the future. Now is your chance. Don’t waste the opportunity!