A dog with a good temperament is something all potential dog owners hope to own one day. The secret recipe for such a dog starts with careful breedings.
It takes a lot of effort to own a stable and well tempered dog. A dog of this nature is not a casual combination, but rather is the fruit of several conditions of nature and nurture. Nature provides the genetic core of a puppy. The puppy is the product of two breeding dogs from which it inherits the basic temperament. This temperament however is further influenced by nurture, experiences the dog goes through during important developmental phases. Nature and nurture are often debated topics as it is often difficult to determine which one has the highest impact on dogs.
Can dogs with genetically inherited unstable temperaments be rehabilitated with behavior modification, or will they never change? Can dogs born instead with great temperaments be ruined if exposed to traumatic experiences during life? What can be done and what does it take to raise a dog with a well rounded temperament? Following are some interesting facts.
The Making of a Well Tempered Dog
Owning two pretty dogs, male and female may grant they will produce a pretty dog but what about its temperament? It is important to invest some time and research in finding out the temperament of both bitch and stud. It is the responsibility of potential puppy owners to ensure that the breeders have invested time in temperament research as well as physical appearance and health.
Stress Free Pregnancy
The pregnancy of the mother is also an important factor in the making of well tempered puppies. If the mother undergoes stress during pregnancy she will produce stress hormones that can that will be perceived by the puppies creating the grounds for a hypersensitivity to stress stimuli, according to Pamela A. Davol, a research scientist . It is vital therefore for mother dog to live in quiet and calm settings throughout pregnancy.
An attentive mother will cater to the puppies in need, and through touch she will be able to reassure the puppies. Shunning a puppy from the litter is a form of mistreatment that may cause the puppy to be deprived from important guidelines he learns from the mother and litter mates. For this reason, orphaned puppies are often difficult to raise and may have serious behavioral problems once adult.
Breeders are responsible for providing a stimulating environment where puppies are exposed to sounds, new textures, shapes etc. This way puppies get used to getting accustomed to new things. Puppies are well taken for and are raised underfoot so they are used to a home environment. A breeder that keeps a litter of pups in a garage or shed are not providing the pups with the ideal environment they deserve in order to grow into social, balanced beings.
Puppies undergo an important process of socialization and owners must take over the breeder’s efforts during this time. From four weeks of age up until four months of age, according to the Upper Valley Humane Society, puppies should be exposed to a great number of people children, places, pets, noises, objects and situations without getting stressed. This window of opportunity is essential to grant confidence, social behaviors and stable temperaments. Puppy classes are a helpful venue to accomplish part of this.
Finally ongoing training is essential. From puppy to adult, dogs benefit from basic training and even advanced training if they excel. Rules and boundaries help dogs understand their place in the pack and discourage challenging behaviors. A dog kept in the house is more likely to be raised stable than a dog left out all day in a yard. Exercise, training and discipline are essential for the well mannered dog.
These are all the ingredients for a well tempered adult dog. Owners should keep in mind that dogs go through a teen ager phase generally between 6 months to 36 months, depending on the breed, where dogs may challenge their owners in testing behaviors. Surpassed such phase, the light after the tunnel should shine upon dog and owner for many years to follow.