We know that development of human babies’ habits and personalities begin in the womb- and are formed in the earliest parts of their lives. Attachment theory tells us that:
“Starting from birth, your baby has the potential to form secure attachments, and attachment theory has evolved over the past 50 years or so to explain how infants’ social and emotional needs should be met, in order to ensure normal development.
Babies whose needs for love, attention, response and care are not met show serious brain under-development by the age of two to three; they may find learning more difficult, and may need a great deal of careful therapy and ‘fixing’ to grow up happy and confident.” (Courtesy BBC)
We want our puppies to grow up to be confident, fun, quick-learning dogs. We know that dogs have capabilities similar to a toddler, so it makes sense to us that puppies should be treated as toddlers-in-development. The principles that underline human psychological development should mirror those in our best friends’.
From the moment our puppies are born, they have human interaction and socialization. They learn that people mean warmth and food from day one, and we feel that this helps imprint human interaction as a good thing. If you ever expect a puppy to return to a person off-lead, you should make sure it likes people.
Our puppies are picked up and played with, have their feet “pinched” and mouths checked. We do all of this every day to ensure that as an adult we can easily: pick them up/move them, trim their nails, and clean their teeth. We also try to ensure that each of these occasions is a good experience rather than a traumatizing one. We introduce them to loud noises, weird smells, and surprises. We want to make sure that our puppies are mentally “prepared” for anything.