Imprinting in the puppy

Understanding the imprinting

The imprinting was discovered by the famous ethologist Konrad Lorenz who was studying the behavior of wild geese. He realized that the chicks were taking the first animal (or the first person!) That they saw while leaving their egg for their mother: this was what allowed to attend the comical scenes where we saw the ethologist walk, followed by a line of chicks persuaded to follow their mother and willing to go wherever Lorenz would go.

The imprinting of the geese towards the man, although substantially disproportionate in this case, is irreversible : indeed, the birds are animals which are oriented mainly to the sight; not being able to observe themselves:
- they persuade themselves to be made in the image of the first thing they see when coming out of the
- they have no way, subsequently, to change their mind . The case of the dog is slightly different: it is indeed an animal that focuses primarily on the flair and is perfectly able to capture its own smell.


This means that :

1. By imprinting, puppies can be convinced to belong to the same species as man. In this case, however, imprinting will not be visual but olfactory and, to a lesser extent, tactile. If a human being stays for hours and hours in front of the cashier to "see" puppies, nothing will happen; on the other hand, if he places himself in the middle of them and lets himself sniff under all the seams, if he caresses and plays with them, he will trigger the imprinting.

Note that the period of imprinting in the dog does not coincide with the birth but is verified in a period that goes from the age of three to eight weeks. This is perfectly logical if we consider that small dogs, at birth, are deaf and blind and can only have relationships with their mother. Identifying their own species, important for its safeguarding, only makes sense when puppies start to leave their crates and may be in contact with other life forms.

2. Even marked by the man, the puppies, at their first meeting with another dog, understand immediately that it is of a member of their species because it emanates a characteristic odor; this may happen after the end of the natural imprinting period.

On the other hand, puppies who have not imprinted on the man during the proper period will not be able to do so later; indeed, the man "does not have the good smell" and can not be recognized at the olfactory level as a similar. The result is that a dog without imprinting on the man will always see him as a complete stranger, that he may fear, ignore or attack, but with which he will never have any relationship of collaboration or

3. The imprinting on the man is not quite natural, it is a quite complex process . For example, puppies that are in contact with only one person at the time of imprinting may have a focused reaction on that individual. Imprinting "one way" can be dangerous because these dogs are not afraid of the man, while seeing as a friend the only man they touched and felt in their infancy and without appreciating the contact with others.

Result: if a man other than their only "friend" tries to caress them, they may not slip away, since they are not afraid, but on the other hand bite, to show that they do not Do not want to be touched.

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