The Puppy's Rule of Twelve


Make sure all experiences are safe and positive for the puppy. Each encounter should include treats and lots of praise. Slow down and add distance if your puppy is scared!

By the time a puppy is 12 weeks old, it should have:
(If over 12 wks start right away)


Experienced 12 different surface: wood, woodchips, carpet tile, cement, linoleum, grass, wet grass, dirt, mud, puddles grates, uneven surfaces, on a table, on a chair, etc...

Played w/ 12 different objects: fuzzy toys, big & small balls, hard toys, funny sounding toys, wooden items, paper or cardboard items, milk jugs, metal items, etc...

Experienced 12 different locations: front yard (daily), other people's homes, school yard, lake, pond, river, boat, basement, elevator, car, moving car, garage, laundry room, kennel, vet hospital (just to say hi and visit, lots of cookies, vaccinations) grooming salon (just to say hi) etc...

Met and played w/ 12 new people: (outside of family) include children, adults (male and female) elderly adults, people in wheelchairs, walkers people with canes, crutches, hats, sunglasses, etc...

Exposed to 12 diff. noises: (ALWAYS keep positive and watch puppy's comfort level-we don't want the puppy scared) garage door opening, doorbell, children playing, babies screaming, big trucks, Harley motorcycles, skateboards, washing machine, shopping carts, power boat, clapping, pan dropping, vacuums, lawnmowers, etc...

Exposed to 12 fast moving objects: (Don't allow to chase) skateboards, roller-blades, bikes, motorcycles, cars, people running, cats running, scooters, children running, squirrels, horses running, etc...

Experience 12 different challenges: Climb on, in, off and around a box, go through a cardboard tunnel, climb up and down steps, climb over obstacles, play hide & seek, go in and out a doorway with a step up or down, exposed to an umbrella, balloons, walk on a wobbly table jump over a broom, climb over a log, bathtub (and bath) etc....

Handled by owner (& family) 12 times a week: hold under arm like a football, hold to chest, hold on floor near owner, hold in-between owner's legs, hold head, look in ears, mouth, in-between toes, hold and take temperature (ask vet) hold like a baby, trim toe nails, hold in lap, etc...

Eaten from 12 different shaped containers: wobbly bowl, metal, cardboard box, paper, coffee cup, pie plate, plastic, frying pan, Kong, Treat ball, Bustercube, spoon fed, paper bag, etc...

Eaten in 12 different locations: back yard, front yard, crate, kitchen, basement, laundry room, bathroom, friends house. Car, bathtub, up high (on work bench) under umbrella, etc...

Player with 12 different puppies (or safe adult dogs) as much as possible.

Left alone safely, away from family and other animals (5-45 minutes) 12 times a week.

Experienced a leash and collar 12 different times in 12 different locations.

Told you love him 12 times a day.

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