So, Mia is 12+ weeks old now. The socialization window is closed. That is the critical window between 8 and 12 weeks where she makes positive associations with new experiences. It’s like her brain is programming itself to categorize things as: familiar/not scary vs foreign/scary. Things she doesn’t encounter during this window have the potential to be evil and frightening in the future; eliciting potential responses varying from fear to aggression.
That’s why you’re supposed to expose your puppy to as many types of people and places as possible during this time. I get a kick out of people who think their dogs hate men, For example, they assume because their dog hates men that surely he was abused by one before they “rescued” him. It’s possible, but it’s also very, very possible that the dog never encountered a man during the socialization window. Thus, subsequently: in their world (and sometimes ours) men are strange creatures that should be feared.
Well, anyhow, tonight, I came across this giant massager thing I bought for The Husband years ago called “The Thumper”. My neck has been bothering me, so I figured “why not”? I proceeded to set it for the “therapeutic” setting, as my neck needed therapy. The thing started buzzing away.
Mia stopped mid-rawhide, shot up and looked at me with a look of sheer terror in her eyes. She tucked her tail and shot off as if the Devil himself was after her. I’ve never seen her move so fast.
So now, I can only wonder: will she have an irrational fear of large buzzing massagers?
Will people think she suffered puppyhood massager abuse?
Time will tell.
Such is the power of improper socialization.