Your Puppy’s Brain is on the Line!
Did you realize that YOU have a lot to do with the development of your puppy’s brain?
Although I have a firm belief in Nature vs. Nurture and genetics being passed down from mom and dad to the pups (temperament) I also know that your puppy’s brain development lays in your hands!
I am someone who loves a good study on animal or human behavior and how it relates to us or your dog’s lives. I guess it is the nerd in me but I like facts and proven studies or points of interest.
When I have time, I enjoy reading the latest dog studies to find out what kind of new information we are learning!
I believe we have A LOT to learn still about our best friends, their behaviors, and just how much they understand us.
In a lot of ways, I think they are much superior to us they learn our behaviors and how to work and train us, and we have such a hard time learning anything about them!
Even those of us that make dogs our living have a lot to learn about them.
The opportunities we give them have everything to do with the size of their brain, how they develop, and what kind of dog they will grow up to be!
Puppies are like children, they need to be nurtured and taught in order to develop appropriately into functioning adults.
Failure to thrive is a condition we learned about with babies in other countries lived in orphanages and spent more time being swaddled and left alone with no touch. These babies had a failure to thrive and gain weight, to grow and flourish both physically and mentally.
Why would we think our puppies or other animals would be any different?
Puppies that are locked up in cages or kennels also have a failure to thrive; their bodies and genetics may be stronger about growing to their physical potential but their minds and emotions need stimulation just like a baby needs touch and interaction.
Adult dogs taken from kennels or puppy mills have an inability to know and trust humans; some learn to overcome this and trust one or two people and some have this disability and fear for a lifetime.
Lots of people get a puppy, figure out they can’t deal with him/her and then lock him/her away in a crate, kennel, or outside alone; this would be just as sad as hiding an infant away with no interaction.
Teaching a puppy about kindness, petting, and touch not only from you but also from lots of other people is critical while the puppy is developing.
Toys & Play
Toys and lots of them and play also play a critical role in your dog’s development.
One study looked at a puppy’s brain development based on the number of toys he had and how interactive his environment was.
It is no big surprise that the more toys a puppy has and the more interactive his environment the bigger his brain grows!
Puppies kept in sterile environments with little to play with and see had smaller brains.
Puppyhood as well as childhood is also the easiest time for a dog to learn.
Studies have proven that as children we adapt better to learning and learn faster than when we are adults.
If you want to learn a second, third or fourth language do it when you are a child. It is much more difficult to learn a new language when you are an adult.
The same holds true for puppies! If you want to teach them a good foundation on leash manners for more on that click here, or eye contact for more on that click here, or just basic obedience click here it is best to teach them when they are pups.
It is not that they CAN’T learn these things as adults, it is just easier for them when they are puppies and it helps their brains to grow and thrive!
- Don’t leave your puppy in a room, kennel, or crate until he grows up!
- Get him out and let him experience people, animals and the world!
- Teach him with kindness and patience as much as you possibly can and keep him from developing bad habits or rewarding himself with bad behavior.
- And, provide him with a lot of toys and a stimulating environment so that his brain grows and develops so you can train and mold him into the best friend you want and need him to be!
I have been a professional dog trainer and pet sitter for over 20 years. I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, through the international Certification Counsel of Professional Dog Trainers. I have trained and worked with police, Schutzhund and personal protection dogs. I trained Assistance Dogs in a men’s prison and ran my own nonprofit organization to take adult dogs from shelters and to train them to assist children and adults with disabilities, at no charge to my clients. My nonprofit organization and I were nominated for several awards of merit and even made the front page of the Denver Post. I was a veterinary technician for many years, where I learned about all aspects of health and preventative medicine. I have trained and worked with exotic animals and cheetahs. I introduced a temperament testing program in my local shelter and sat on the board of directors. I volunteered with my dog “Mr. Snitch” and helped local children learn to read. I have attained obedience titles and several blue ribbons. I am constantly in search of ways to continue my education and excellence when it comes to animals, their behavior and their health.