“Have your puppy meet 100 new people in 100 days! If your puppy is already showing signs of timidity or fear, triple that to 300 exposures in 100 days.” Have you read that before, or been given that advice?
Quality experiences matter more to your dog than the number, particularly if your dog is already showing fear. This is especially true with young animals. Tripling your puppy’s exposure to things that scare him or her is not going to eliminate the fear. Let’s picture your young child is terrified of heights, would making him face and focus heavily on that fear eliminate it? No, it could easily make him more fearful. Does that mean we should put our puppies in a bubble and not expose them to things? Absolutely not, but the logic is not there in making the experience happen more frequently when they are already shut down.
All socialization and experiences should be intentional. Instead of having a check list in your mind with a number, think of the experience. This is how we can build our dog’s confidence, successful experiences that leave the dog thinking, “That was fun!” Socialization is so important, but owners with good intentions could easily get lost in the number. We want our puppies to feel good, built up and confident that we are leading them to positive experiences.
Have questions about this? Feel free to ask us!