Brian’s about 6 months old now. He’s much more confident and settled, even people are not such an issue anymore. I guess he’s ready for more formal training.
From 6 to about 18 months there are ‘second phases’. Second chewing phase, second fear phase…Brian’s formative period is lost. He’ll never be really well socialised, he’ll never trust strangers, he’ll have his fear issues. But because he’s so young, he can be trained and learn to react to scary situations in a safe way.
For the next few months he’s likely to have a really high need for stimulation and companionship. He is likely to get bored quickly, so long periods of inactivity are out of the question. So I’ve got tougher toys ready to be chewed. We play vigorously with other dogs, we have an informal ‘puppy club’ with three other adolescent puppies (Blue, Tyrrell & Elsa).
I don’t expect Brian to be super obedient at this stage, but his future emotional stability depends on his experiences, so he needs more control and the (so far, rather lax) rules need to be obeyed. The distinction needs to be made between toys and non-toys. The cats’ space is to be kept ‘cats only zone’. Most importantly: in our family, when you’re scared you run TO Alex, not away from her.
I’m happy when I see the changes in him. He’s going to be a brilliant dog, I know it.