Since the 1950’s dog professionals have known about the groundbreaking work of Scott & Fuller concerning the critical periods of puppy development. Basically, if a puppy is not given a rich environment, and exposed to many situations and experiences in the first 16 weeks of its life, the animal will never be able to reach its full potential. As well, the importance of early “imprinting” has shown to produce superior working animals. Anything “imprinted” during the first critical 16 weeks remains with the dog and makes additional learning easier.
I have found that puppies exposed to all the things it will experience as a detection dog during this sixteen week period are precocious; far advanced of pups which do not experience this enriched environment. It is common for my pups to work in heavily distracting environments, ignoring other animals, people and distractions, on a variety of surfaces, and indicating odor by 10 weeks of age.
Several times a week the pups and I head out to some of the many businesses in town which allow me to work the dogs in them. This allows them to experience “real life” search conditions from day one. Enjoy these pics of some of my pups working, shown here at 10 weeks of age.