When I wrote my post Training a Puppy in 12 Easy Steps!, I’d forgotten that it is as easy as 12 steps. They’re called the Puppy Rules of 12.
By the time a puppy is 12 weeks old, they should have met 12 people, 12 other animals, played with 12 objects, eaten 12 things, walked on 12 surfaces, heard 12 strange sounds… Basically anything they may encounter in life should be multiplied by 12. It’s an excellent way to approach training and socialising a puppy, without overwhelming dog or owner. I’ve heard others claim a puppy should meet 100 people and 100 dogs by 3 months, which can be so much, so fast. Overwhelming a dog sets them up for failure; overwhelming their person sets the dog up for failure.
Peach is 11 weeks old tomorrow. I have tried to count up her 12s. She has met 11 people, though not interacted significantly with about half of them. She has met 5 other animals. She has been on many substrates, played with many toys (Trust me!) and eaten many things (Again, just take my word for it.) She has also heard many sounds: strange video games sounds, shouting, music, loud trucks, bells… Peach is well on the way to meeting her quota.
And as each day passes by, she grows a little bolder. Today she went on a longer walk and wasn’t scared as much, and was easier to calm. She also passed a dog and did not become shy; when she passed a reactive dog, she became fixated, but not scared. She let my boyfriend’s mother pet her today, and accepted a treat of delicious cheese from her. Peach is also learning a quick sit, general manners, and a new trick.
Remember, it’s not about stuffing as much experience as you can into your puppy or socialising dog: it’s about the quality of the encounters they make.