There are 3 aspects of a puppies life that are largely of ignored by the majority of professionals, breeders and enthusiasts.
Confidence, hunting and exposure are the most critical aspects of raising a puppy. Until they are 6 months old these should be the 3 aspects that you concentrate on.
When we concentrate on the skills we desperately want to be building we fail to see that we are doing so upon a foundation made of sand. Which as Jimmy Hendrix sang, will fade into the sea, eventually.
We can easily teach a young puppy all manner of cool tricks and skills. But, without the capacity to withstand life, puppy prodigies crumble. At the latest by around 12months the gaps start showing and we end up with a nervous wreck.
If we start with confidence we start laying a concrete foundation! When we have a confident pup we can be sure that as they develop and start to view the expansive world that they are able to be tolerant of all manner of fear inducing events.
Hunting is something that we can easily do at home and is most often missed, even by professionals. Mainly because so many people think that hunting means sacrificing a critter and having your puppy turn into a rabid demon. The opposite is true! When we promote and allow our dogs to express themselves as predators they will become happier, fulfilled and enriched and that means a calmer and more patient puppy.
Exposure is most definitely something we do poorly. Puppies should be, strategically, exposed to other dogs in particular adult dogs before 16weeks of age. Yes, it has been said! Prior to a puppies full vaccination course they should be exposed to other dogs, places and people. The risk of disease is far outweighed by the risk of behavioural impediment. This behavioural gap leads to reactivity, separation stress, aggression, over excitement and dependency upon you.
If we concentrate on teaching the foundations of confidence, hunting and exposure we build a resilient, smart, brave, happy, joyful, engaged, inquisitive and expressive puppy. That puppy will quickly learn the skills you want or need for work, sport, hobby or pet purposes.
Teaching power and control to your puppy as the mainstay until they are 6months old gives them a deep toolbox with which do life their lives. Without those tools...every problem needs a hammer.