Puppy Rules Of Twelve
The puppy rules of twelve is a handy guideline for puppy owners of a selection of
stimulus that puppies should have been exposed to by the time they reach around
twelve weeks old. It was first conceived of by a professional dog trainer and
behaviourist called Margaret Hughes, as a range of twelve different types of stimulus
from different categories that the twelve week old puppy should get used to.

Make sure all experiences are safe and positive for the puppy.  Each encounter
should include treats and lots of praise.  Slow down and add distance if your puppy is
Different walking surfaces
By the time your puppy is twelve weeks old, they should have experienced walking
on twelve different types of surfaces. Try to find a range of different textures and
walking surfaces for your puppy to get to grips with, including:

 Dry grass
 Wet grass
 Unevenly textured surfaces

Toys and play
Ensure that your puppy is given a wide range of different objects, games, puzzles
toys and textures to play with, including:

 Toys that make a noise
 Hard balls
 Soft balls
 Plastic toys
 Soft toys
 Wooden toys
 Paper and cardboard
 Interactive toys
 Toys that move
 Chew toys
 Fabric toys such as ropes and pull toys
 Hide strips

Experience of new places
Until your dog has received all of their vaccinations and gets the ok from your vet to
go out into the world where they will be exposed to the presence of other dogs, you
may be rather limited as to what kind of stimulus you can expose your puppy to.
However, when your puppy is twelve weeks old or soon after, they should have
experienced a range of different environments and places, such as:

 Your garden or yard
 Your home
 Other people’s homes
 Outside of a school or playground
 A car
 A lift
 The veterinary surgery
 A kennel
 A training group or canine social
 A park
 Water, such as a beach, pond or river

People and play
It is important to get your puppy used to the presence of other people, of all different
“varieties” and from all walks of life, as your puppy will almost certainly come across
all of them over the course of their life! Yourself and members of your family will be
your puppy’s pack, and so you cannot be counted in their twelve different
experiences of people! Try to introduce your puppy to all sorts of people and
situations, including:

 Adult males
 Adult females
 Female children
 Male children
 Elderly people
 Young children or babies
 A person in a wheelchair
 A person who walks with a stick or a cane
 People in hats
 People in sunglasses
 People of a variety of races
 People with special needs

Exposure to sound
The world is a very noisy place, particularly for the growing puppy who is new to
everything! It is vital to get your puppy used to a wide range of sounds, both common
sounds that they will hear often, and more unusual noises that might catch them
unawares! Make sure that no sudden or particularly loud noises shock or scare your
puppy, as this can be counter-productive. Some suggestions to include are:

 The doorbell
 A noisy baby or child
 Cars and trucks
 A motorcycle
 The washing machine
 The vacuum cleaner
 The television or radio
 Scooters or skateboards
 An alarm, such as a car alarm or smoke alarm
 Clattering sounds such as dropped keys or pans

Exposure to fast movement
A person or object suddenly zooming past you can be unnerving even for people,
and even more so for puppies! Exposing your puppy to fast-moving things safely is
important for a range of reasons; so that your puppy does not fear it, so that they
learn not to chase things if they are so prone to, and so that they learn to stay out of
the way and not walk into the path of something fast moving.

Try to expose your puppy to a selection of speedy things such as the following list:

 A car passing them
 A motorcycle passing them
 A push bike
 A truck or lorry
 A person running or jogging
 A cat running
 Children running around
 Skateboards and scooters
 People on roller blades
 Larger or older dogs
 Remote control toys
 Push chairs designed for sport and jogging

Different Challenges
Exposure to different challenges is also nessesary.
Have them try:

Climb on, in, off and around a box
Go through a toy or cardboard tunnel
Climb up and down steps
Climb over obstacles
Play hide & seek
Go in and out a doorway with a step up or down
Expose to an electric sliding door
Walk on a wobbly table (plank of wood with a small rock underneath)
Jump or step over a broom
Climb over a log
Bathtub and baths

Handled by family
Being handled can mean many things. Your puppy should be okay with being held,
restrained and groomed for their future so when they go to the groomers,
Veterinarian, or just in a group of people.

Get them used to:

Being held under your arm (like a football)
Hold to chest
Hold on the floor near owner
Hold between the owners legs
Hold their head
Checking ears, mouth, in-between toes and nails
Hold like a baby
Trim toe nails

Eat in different locations
Have them able and comfortable to eat in many situations. This helps if they might
be traveling, being boarded, at the veterinarian, etc...

Back yard
Front yard
Laundry room
Friend's house
School yard
Off the ground (bench, table, picnic table)
Under umbrella
I begin to introduce my puppies to as many age appropriate objects, sounds and
experiences as possible before they go to their new forever homes. You should keep
introducing your puppy to the listed objects. Along with basic obedience and lots of
praise you will begin to mold your puppy into a wonderful companion.