When Penny first came to live with us, we were fortunate that we were told to introduce her to as many new experiences as we could, before she moved out of the critical age where she would be receptive to new experiences and learn not to fear them.
We travelled on the local trains, looked at ducks in the park, trained next to fast-moving cyclists, walked through our busy local shopping centre - amongst many other experiences. We always included lots of fun training and play in our schedule.
It was an age when everything was exciting and interesting:
a milk carton...
a doggy mat...
even a box of tissues.
I was browsing the Net today and came across an article suggesting that one of the differences between modern wolves and dogs may relate to that earliest period of socialisation. An evolutionary biologist at the University of Masscahusetts, Kathryn Lord, conducted a study that seems to show that wolf pups begin to explore their environment while they are still deaf and blind, whilst dog pups stay inactive until they have developed sight and hearing.
When a wolf pup explores at first, it may be frightened of a sound, but becomes accustomed to it. Later, when it begins to see, it may be frightened all over again by the sight of something. So, as each new sense comes into play, the wolf pup has to learn to cope with new experiences.
Dog pups, on the other hand, go through this period of accustoming themselves to things - like humans, horses, even cats, for instance - all in the one period.
I guess this has interesting implications for taming wolves.
I wonder if it would apply to dingoes also?