Puppy Imprinting

Finally we reach the point where this matter has to be treated. Imprinting was discovered by Konrad Lorenz, an etologo that was studying goose conducts.Lorenz discovered that geese chicks consider as mother the first animal (or person) they see when going out of their egg. This produced the famous scenes of the etologo walking with a long row of chicks behind him, totally convinced they were following their mother, and ready to go wherever he was going. The goose imprinting in relation with man, though wrong as it is, is irreversible. In fact, birds are animals that perceive reality around them, in a very predominantly visual manner, and as they cannot see themselves, they believe they are like the first living animal they see when breaking eggs, and then they cannot change that idea. Dog's case is different; because it is a smelling animal, and therefore capable of smelling himself.

Through imprinting puppies may be convinced they are of the same specie as men. In that case imprinting is not visual, but olfactory, and to a lower degree tactile. If a human being stays next to the puppy's bed for hours, allowing them to see him, nothing will happen. However, if he touches them, pets them and plays with them, then imprinting is produced. It's important to point out that imprinting period, in the dog, does not start at birth, but between his third and eight week of life. This is obvious as puppies at birth, can't see or hear, and they are exclusively related with their mother. Identification within the specie is very important for their own preservation, does not make sense till the puppies go out of their burrow, and start relating with other ways of life. Puppies that have focused imprinting in man, when meeting for the first time another dog, immediately recognize a congener, because of his odor. This is also possible after finalizing the imprinting period. On the other side, puppies without imprinting with men at the right age, will not make it anymore, cause man has not the dog's particular odor, and cannot be smelled as a congener. The consequence is that dog without imprinting will see man as a complete stranger, that can be feared, ignored or attacked, but with whom he will never have any friendly relation or whatsoever. Imprinting respecting to man, not being a natural process, is very complex. For instance; puppies that only have contact with one person during their imprinting, may have a distorted one, centered on a sole human being. The "univocal" imprinting may be dangerous cause these dogs have no fear of men; they only consider as friend the only person they have smelled and touched during their first infancy, and do not like contact with other people. Then, it could happen, that if a different man approaches one of them, he will not run away, but he could bite him to show he does not like to be touched by him.

seeFIDOThe First Days of Puppy's LifeSenses of a Newborn PuppyPuppy Survival Fight StartsSelecting a Puppy from a LitterTransition phase for PuppiesPuppy ImprintingPuppy Socialization Phases, Hierarchic & Pack Order