I recently became aware of the Rule of Seven, created by Dr. Carmen Battaglia, to assist dog breeders and owners in the puppy socialization process. Much like ENS (early Neurological Stimulation), the Rule of Seven introduces puppies to small stressors that will help boost confidence, social behavior, and their trainability. Conscientious breeders will have set this well into motion by the time the puppy goes to its new home, but then it becomes the owner’s responsibility to continue and reinforce during the critical socialization period which generally runs up to 12-16 weeks of age.

It is not necessary to follow the Rule of Seven to a T, but it is suggested to use it as a guide.  It is important to remember that the puppy must be current on all vaccinations before exposing it to other dogs or strange areas.  

It is recommended that by the time a puppy is 3 months old, to make sure it has:

  1. Been on 7 different types of surfaces:  i.e. carpet, tile, linoleum, concrete, wood, vinyl, grass, dirt, gravel, and wood chips.
  2. Played with 7 different types of objects:  i.e. rope toys, plush toys, big balls, small balls, soft fabric toys, squeaky toys, paper or cardboard items, metal items, and sticks.
  3. Been in 7 different locations:  i.e. front & back yard, basement, kitchen, car, garage, laundry room, bathroom, kids’ room, living room, hallway, Vet’s office, groomers.
  4. Met and played with 7 new people:  include children and older adults, someone walking with a cane or in a wheelchair or with a walker, someone tall, someone in a hat, etc.
  5. Been exposed to 7 challenges: i.e. climb on a box, go through a tunnel, climb steps, go down steps, climb over obstacles, play hide and seek, go in and out of a doorway with a step up or down, run around a fence.
  6. Eaten from 7 different containers: i.e. metal, plastic, cardboard, paper, human hands, pie plate, tin pan, frying pan, Frisbee, elevated bowl.
  7. Eaten in 7 different locations: i.e. crate, yard, exercise pen, basement, laundry room, living room, bathroom, back yard.

Each new, positive experience will help your puppy flourish as a confident and happy companion.  Allow your puppy to learn passively by allowing them to explore on their own, but to be certain it is under 100% supervision and in a controlled environment.  Harsh training methods should never be used with a puppy, because it is easy to break the bond of trust. Training should be fair, positive, and fun. 

Stay tuned . . .

Heidi at 5 months

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