Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
When I have a new pup I try to take it somewhere new (or a new environment) *every day* for the first 2-4 weeks. For me it's easy because I work on a college campus. I can expose a puppy to just about everything - people, other dogs, all sorts of stairs, floor surfaces, bridges, elevators, pond, construction equipment, wildlife, busy traffic and parking lots, loud music... For me it's mostly about bonding and observing my dog's reactions. I'm not really conditioning the dog not to respond, just making sure the dog has a sound temperament. I don't mind a dog that shows some reluctance of something brand new and has to "figure it out" first, as long as they will try eventually, and then be happy and instantly recover from any hesitation. For example if I show the puppy a metal grate, I don't care if the puppy has to sniff at it before being willing to walk over it. I'm not really looking for a dog that is *so* complacent he would step off the edge of a cliff without checking, lol. If the pup hesitates I just help it keep going and not make a huge deal out of it. My last two GSDs were very reluctant to jump into water at first but now they both have dock diving titles and it's one of their favorite sports.