Castro-Castalia Bullmastiffs

Proper Socialization, Castro-Castalia Bullmastiffs
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Proper Socialization, Castro-Castalia Bullmastiffs

Chris y Fetiche y los trastos de las camadas T y P

Before I decide breeding a new litter, I always make sure I will have plenty of time to share with them for as long as they stay at home with me, being perfectly aware that if one wants to do things right, breeding is not just a matter of putting a male and a female together, wait until a litter is born, lock the dam and the newborns in a filthy kennel full of straw or dirty newspapers, let the bitch alone care and watch for her progeny well or wrong and six or seven weeks later, clear them off to anyone who is ready to take a puppy of such a kind and origin.

Proper Socialization, Castro-Castalia Bullmastiffs

I’ve said before that I have a philosophy of my own when it comes to breeding puppies. My pups are born in my bedroom and they spend with their mom and me the next four of five weeks upstairs, in a perfectly clean and cosy atmosphere, under my permanent surveillance. I am fortunate enough to have a huge bedroom where there is plenty of space to accommodate the bed, a living area, my work area and the bathroom, which allows me to be around them all the time, even when I am working or on the phone, twenty four hours upon twenty four.

Once the puppies have to be weaned and temporarily separated from mom, I move them to the room next to mine that I have arranged as a “puppy-room”, where there is plenty of space for them to play around, a sleeping area and a WC area, perfectly separated each from the other, to ensure that they start learning some of the basics of their social education. That way I can still keep an eye on them;  when the weather is fine and sunny I take them out to the garden, where all the gang can play free, also with the Puggies and the rest of the Bullies under the close surveillance of mom –once she becomes available again after weaning-- and any of the eldest females, such as “Fetiche” who loves to behave like a real granny!

Proper Socialization, Castro-Castalia Bullmastiffs

Malcom X y Con Retintin de Castro-Castalia

All of this ensures a proper socialization. But there is more…

After many years of close relationship with my dogs and my puppies and a thorough follow-up of the members of each litter, by keeping a close contact with the owners to know exactly how they evolve, I have found out that the more the litter stays together the better it is for a richer socialization. In fact, staying together until 14 weeks of age, while they conclude their vaccination period, entails that they remain in a “secure” environment without the risk of contagion of any of the diseases that cause so much burden to young puppies and since they do not have to remain locked up in their new homes without the necessary contact with others of its kind, they continue their proper learning and developing of social skills.

Proper Socialization, Castro-Castalia Bullmastiffs

Camada Q con Roger y Sonia

Throughout the years I have been doing this by pure instinct, sure of the benefits it brought to my puppies until I have finally seen that my personal belief has now become an official theory, supported by many experts who assert that separating pups from their littermates and mom too early in their lives (say around six to eight weeks of age, as usual) is a mistake. It prevents puppies from improving their social skills through play, the technique by which they learn to mix and relate to the rest of the puppies in the litter, first and then to those other dogs and domestic animals in the household or outside.

Proper Socialization, Castro-Castalia Bullmastiffs

Chris, Pizpireta, Preciosa Fetiche y las camadas T y P de Castro-Castalia

It is now perfectly understood and commonly accepted by experts that puppies should remain together until at least twelve weeks and better be until fourteen weeks, as those will become the most social individuals, adapting better to our Society and ways of life and not just this as they will also be the dogs that will better behave amongst other dogs and other animals as well, provided that during that extended period of relationship with the rest of the litter, they are also given a chance to improve their know-how and experience many other skills.

Plenty new works and books based upon several pilot schemes prove this; I personally like very much two books that I truly recommend to any responsible owner, as it will help understand the reasons why it is so important to keep the puppies and their dam together for an extended length of time, instead of separating them as soon as one and a half month, two months or even two and half months of age:

“The Domestic Dog”, edited by James Serpell
"Applied Dog Behaviour and Training", written by Steven R Lindsay.

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