Should I allow my 11 week old puppy time to explore the environment a little when working on engagement?
I'm wondering if you could answer a question for me regarding socialization.
When I take my 11 week old Malinois puppy out into new areas, should I be working on keeping her engaged with me 100% of the time and then putting her back in the car? Or should I allow her to explore a little with short periods of engagement work in between?
She is still very easily distracted and I am struggling to find a good balance between exposing her to lots of new scents, sights and sounds at a young age, meeting her exercise requirements and keeping her attention on me
I think if you get a chance to watch the Motivation DVD it will clear this up for you as Michael talks about this.
For me, if I have a puppy that's easily distracted I make sure that puppy has LESS opportunity to practice being distracted. If you allow the dog to check out during training sessions to explore the environment, then you are building a habit that will be hard to work through later. I would make a clear distinction between a working session and a “do your own thing” session. Puppies that are easy to engage and have no issue remaining focused get more freedoms in this area. My dog Rush has been quite focused from very early on, my new terrier puppy is not allowed to interact with her environment nearly as much as Rush was at this same age (5 months).