Temperament is one of the most important qualities in a Presa Canario. Given the right attention to socialization from a young age, Presas can grow into the perfect combination of staunch household defender and gentle, lovable family dog. While breeding for temperament is important, so is house socializing a Presa Canario. There are some clear dos and don’ts every Presa owner needs to consider as they raise their puppy into the perfect dog.
Key socializing period
Presa Canario training starts early—as young as three weeks old. During these earliest development months, Presas begin acclimating to the world, which means owners need to take the time to instill proper socialization traits in them. The more sights, sounds, smells and other stimuli they’re introduced to in a comfortable environment, the better their temperament will be given the right training when they reach an age of cognizance.
These earliest weeks (three weeks to 12 weeks) are absolutely vital in developing proper temperament. Once this development window closes, there’s no reopening it. Any training after this point is simply a reinforcement of developmental socialization ingrained early on.
Socializing with purpose
Presa Canario training needs to be purposeful and thoughtful. It’s more than teaching basic commands like sit, stay and lay down. This breed is incredibly intelligent and needs to be challenged, which means socializing with a mind for how you want them to respond to certain stimuli and situations.
Your Presa is learning 24 hours a day, seven days a week. That means you, their owner, are teaching every moment you’re with them. This means several important things for socialization:
- The more time your Presa is left unattended, the less purposeful their socialization is
- The more variables (stimuli) you can control, the more purposeful their socialization is
- The more purposeful you are in creating situations and teaching response, the faster they’ll learn
Socialization comes with an aspect of accountability for owners. If your Presa responds to a certain situation correctly 10 out of 10 times, it’s because you put in the time to ingrain that response in them. If they respond correctly nine out of 10 times, it’s because the response isn’t ingrained.
Socialize on safe, controlled terms
When it comes to the actual socialization—meeting another person or another dog—your Presa should have a fundamental understanding of what acceptable behavior is. They should be calm, collected and reserved, waiting for their owner to provide the context for their actions.
Time spent introducing stimuli at a young age and training behavior to reinforce good habits will pay off—especially in situations where other parties lack the discipline you and your Presa have cultivated. Barking, jumping dogs shouldn’t elicit aggression or reciprocation; handsy people who want to pet your Presa shouldn’t cause it to react with excitement or agitation. Instead, your dog should be familiar with these stimuli and the expectations for its action (or inaction).
You may be asking, “Are puppy classes a good tool for training my Presa?” Often, the answer is yes. These environments introduce people, other dogs and an array of stimuli—all while you’re standing by to provide them with a baseline for behavior. Consider these classes after the 12-week key learning period, as an extension of concepts learned