Most breeders release puppies to their new owners at 8 weeks old, some even as young as 5, 6, and 7 weeks of age. As Certified Dog Trainers, we see numerous cases in young adolescents and adults with various behavioral issues, such as harmful play biting, dog to dog aggression, people aggression, fearful behavior, hyperactivity, and many displacement behaviors, all causing much grief and expense for their well meaning owners.
Most of these issues could have been eliminated and prevented, had the breeder properly conditioned the pups before releasing them to their new owners, not allowing them to leave before 10 weeks of age. Releasing them before this age puts them at risk for insecure behavior as an adult, as the fear imprint stage runs from 8-10 weeks of age. Also, the pups are still being socialized by the breeders, as the social imprint stage continues until 12 weeks of age.
We then also educate the owners on how to establish a healthy relationship and the importance of early obedience training, using positive reinforcement methods. Here at Thinschmidt German Shepherds and Assertive K-9 Training, we do it all for you.
Our puppies are released at 10 weeks of age. We educate our puppy buyers on the critical fear imprint stage, between 8-10 weeks of age. All pups should remain with their litter until at least 8 weeks of age to learn bite inhibition, social interaction with other pups, and respect towards adults, beautifully taught by the mother. Therefore, undesirable behaviors such as fear and aggression are prevented from spilling into adulthood.
Socialization and conditioning begins at 3 days old, using the Bio-Sensor program developed by the U.S. Military in the 1970’s. After 14 days, we continue introducing various stimuli during the transitional period, which helps to promote neurological development and increase brain activity. We then continue working with the pups through the Awareness and Socialization periods.
Our goal is for each pup to meet at least 100 strangers before they are 12 weeks of age. This is done through owners coming to our group classes, members of our Schutzhund club, clients viewing our pups and facility, our own family coming over to play with puppies – all holding and handling pups, and helping with simple obedience.
We also play various sound tapes all day, to familiarize the pups to real life sounds they will encounter all throughout their lives. We enrich their environments with obstacle courses, fun activities, and different learning strategies, all set up to help them to stimulate their minds and development.