Puppy's Rule of Twelve
Written by Margaret Hughes-Positive Paws Dog Training 2002 Adapted with permission from Pat Schaap’s “RULE OF 7’s” for 7 week old puppies
Margaret Hughes is credited, she created a wonderful set of guidelines about what puppies should experience before 12 weeks of age, in her book, Positive Puppy Training. She says that puppies are most willing to try new things before they are 12 weeks old. To socialize puppies, she suggests exposing them to a variety of experiences. Be sure the experiences are safe and positive, she adds. Accompany with praise. Here are the Puppy’s Rule of Twelve: By the time your puppy is 12 weeks old, it should have:
- Experienced 12 different surfaces: wood, woodchips, dirt, mud, puddles, deep pea gravel, grates, uneven surfaces, a table (ie. Vet.) etc.
- Introduced to 12 different objects: toys, big and small balls, hard toys, funny sounding toys, metal items, statues, balloons, etc.
- Experienced 12 different locations: front yard (daily), other peoples homes, school yard, shopping plazas, lakes, pond, river, boat, basement, elevator, car, moving car, garage, laundry room, kennel, etc.
- Met and played with 12 new people (outside of the family): include children, adults, elderly adults, people in wheelchairs, walkers, people with canes, crutches, hats,sunglasses, etc.
- Exposed to 12 different noises (ALWAYS keep fun and watch puppy’s comfort level-don’t want it to be scared): garage door opening, doorbell, children playing, babies screaming, big trucks, Harley motorcycles, skateboards, washing machine, power boat, clapping, loud singing, pan dropping, horses neighing, vacuums, lawnmowers, birthday party, etc.
- Exposed to 12 fast moving objects (don’t allow to chase): skateboards, roller skates, bicycles, motorcycles, cars, people running, cats running, scooters, vacuums not on, children running, children playing soccer, squirrels, cats, horses running, cows running, shopping carts rolling, etc.
- Experienced 12 different challenges: climb on, in, off and around a box, go through a cardboard tunnel, climb up and down steps, climb over obstacles, play hide and seek, go in and out of a doorway with a step up or down, exposed to an electric sliding door, jump over a broom, climb over a log, bathtub (and bath), etc.
- Handled by owner (& family) 12 times a week: hold under arm (like a football), hold to chest, hold on floor near owner, hold in-between owner’s legs, hold head, look in ears, mouth, in-between toes, hold and take temperature, hold like a baby, trim toe nails, hold in lap
- Formal GEB Body Massage done in 12 different locations
- Eaten from twelve different shaped containers: wobbly bowl, metal, paper, plastic, Kong, paper bag, from your hand, etc.
- Eaten in 12 different locations: back yard, front yard, crate, kitchen basement, laundry room, bathroom, friend’s house, car, school yard, bathtub, up high (on a cardboard solid box no more than 1 foot off the ground) etc.
- Played with 12 different puppies (or safe adult dogs) under supervision.
- Left alone safely (in crate) away from family and other animals (5-45 minutes) 12 times a week.
- Left alone safely (in crate) near family members (5-45 minutes) 12 times a week.