SOCIALIZATION AND IMPRINTING IN THE SPANISH WATER DOG
The imprinting in dogs is a term used to designate the period and degree of learning in the puppy. It encompasses several areas: psychological, social and environmental perception.
Tends to associate the imprinting, exclusively with the period of socialization of the puppy and; In spite of being intrinsically related, it is not exactly the same.
The socialization of the puppy at all levels is not so much an exclusively natural process, as propitiated, and where the hand of the human being is essential, while the imprinting includes, in addition to socialization, the natural adaptation to the environment and the exhibition to vital experiences that determine the future character and behavior of the dog.
Being rigorous, the imprinting, refers to all the life experience since the animal begins to receive stimuli until it reaches 3 months of life.
It is, however, the period that covers from the first 2 to 7 weeks of the puppy’s life, is the most fertile in the imprinting. The experiences acquired at that moment will be those that most determine their future behavior and the psychology of the animal.
This does not mean that the previous phase is not important; in fact, it is fundamental that the puppy stays with his mother until the moment propitious to be separated and this lapse of time also forms an indisputable part for a good imprinting.
The first days of imprinting on dogs
After birth and until weaning, puppies should be in contact with their mother. It will be in this period when they begin to become aware of themselves, their needs and their environment.
It is at this precise moment when the EARLY STIMULATION that we advise so much from our UBBADAT kennel comes into play. The series of daily exercises from day 5 to day 23 of life offer the puppy the ability to cope with the future events of his life much better than a puppy that does not receive such stimulation.
By the fourth week of life they begin to react to the sounds, get attached to their mother and learn to differentiate identify each of their siblings. It will be then that we must gradually become accustomed to human presence, interact with ourselves and gradually become accustomed to various members of our species.
Socialization period for a good imprinting in dogs
From the third to the ninth week of age, the puppies begin to communicate with each other and to become aware of the hierarchy through the corrective actions of the mother, the olfactory signals and the postures. During this period they also fully develop their sense of balance and their psychomotor apparatus.
For all this it is fundamental for their socialization that they remain with their mother and siblings at least until the seventh week of life. Equally important is that the puppy is getting used to all those stimuli that will be found in his adult life: people, noise, cars, other animals and pets, natural elements, etc. The more you imbibe these stimuli and experiences, the more confident you will face your adult life and the more open and receptive you will be to the appearance of other new stimuli in the future.
The development of your nervous system will also be determined by the quantity and quality of experiences you experience during the imprinting.
In this period, the puppy must understand the place it occupies, most especially, from the moment of separation from the mother and siblings. The most propitious time interval to impregnate yourself with this type of experience is the one that goes from two months to 18 weeks of life.
TYPES OF SOCIALIZATION DURING THE IMPRINTING IN DOGS
There are three levels of socialization in which the animal must become aware of its place and position in the world:
1- Socialization with their congeners in the imprinting phase in dogs
Obviously we refer to the adaptation to other dogs. If the imprinting has been correct during the first weeks of life, the puppy will have already become aware of himself, as a dog and in relation to his mother and the rest of the litter, but he will still have to learn to relate to his parents. congeners, beyond their brothers.
For this, it is essential that the puppy has contact with other dogs of different ages to his, whether larger or smaller, showing caution when there are significant differences in size and weight so that they do not cause damage to each other with their games .
The puppies go out to play with the herd in a progressive way and learn the meaning of “being a dog” with their mother, siblings and other members of the farm. Adult, young dogs, other breeding females and stallions help to educate the puppies in the best possible way. A puppy that does not understand that it belongs to the canine species will never be a good companion for a human and will not be a stable dog at all in the future.
We must correct them, firmly, but without violence, when we see that they abuse other smaller ones or that they try to bite beyond what is tolerable.
It is important that the contact experiences with other dogs and puppies are rewarding to avoid future traumas and phobias.
2- Socialization with other species in the imprinting
This level of socialization includes dealing with other species in their environment, so that they understand that they are also part of their community and that they must respect them and let them live in peace.
It is convenient to start introducing other types of animals and pets, so that they realize that they also belong to the community and that they have their own spaces, which they can not, in any case, try to invade, learning to be in their presence without pursuing them or attacking them.
You must understand what the cat, the pigeon, the birds, the poultry, the hamster, etc. are like.
The dogs with a correct imprinting are able to live with countless animals without causing any damage, even in cold and hungry conditions.
3- Socialization with humans during the imprinting phase in dogs
It may seem that the puppy already socializes with humans from the moment he lives in a house and deals with our family, but this is not enough.
We must integrate him into the human community and understand that there is a world “out there”, full of humans that he must respect.
It is important for a good imprinting that the dog understands that humans have our own code and learn to interpret it with frequent contact.
In this sense, it is very useful to expose our puppy to situations in which he gradually becomes accustomed to people.
For a good imprinting is fundamental during the period of socialization with humans, so that our little friend who determines when the game is over, go to sleep, eat, when to stop barking, etc.
PERSEVERANCE DURING THE PHASE OF IMPRINTING IN DOGS
It can be difficult to have to get used to the dog where the limits are. We run the risk of being driven by inertia, but we must persevere and be firm during this period.
We can not forget that firmness and perseverance are not exempt from equanimity. We must never resort to violence or aggression. Authority must be exercised from knowledge, respect and empathy.
A disproportionate quarrel during imprinting can negatively influence your behavior and psychology.