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  • Writer's pictureBecky Maggart

What are Puppy Culture & AviDog?

Updated: Jul 12, 2022

Both Puppy Culture and AviDog are early socialization programs aimed at providing puppies with developmentally appropriate experiences that give puppies a big head start before they go home! Both programs provide great insight into puppy development from birth to the puppy you take home with you, and beyond. There are parts that overlap, or are similar, as well as some differences where one program covers particular topics more in depth then the other. Combining them allows us to cherry pick the best options for our puppies!

Puppy Culture

In a nutshell, Puppy Culture has taken most of the best early socialisation practices from over the last 50 years and formalized them into a weekly program. We have used most of these protocols, but what we like best about Puppy Culture is that it has matched each stage to developmental markers. This makes it easy and effective to do the right things, and do them at the right time for each litter.

Just a few of the Puppy Culture protocols include:

  • Early Neurological Stimulation (ENS), also known as the BioSensor program, to enhance the development of strong nervous systems for life

  • Clicker or marker training to teach puppies how to learn, to enjoy learning, and how to seek out training

  • Manding, which is a way of teaching puppies to offer polite behaviors and asking for attention, instead of jumping, barking, etc. to improve communication with humans, and limit frustration on both sides

  • Attention to people to teach puppies to confidently make eye contact with humans, and to use this as a communication method in addition to Manding

  • Puppy Parties, socialization with all sorts of humans, to teach the puppies to engage with humans and confidently participate in activities with humans

  • Resource Guarding Prevention to help prevent unwanted behavior of puppies guarding food, toys, people, or other valued items

  • Habituation to and desensitization of loud noises and new experiences, such as a vacuum, lawn mower, and roller suitcase.

  • Recovery from being startled, as every dog will experience new or scary things throughout their lives, and need to be able to recover and move on quickly

"On the top level, Puppy Culture is a socialization and training program specifically developed for puppies from birth through the end of their critical socialization period, with age-appropriate protocols and lessons laid out in an organized format. But that really does not get to the "why" of Puppy Culture, or what makes it different. Puppy Culture is based on the premise that the puppy always leads the learning, and puppies learn best by appropriate experiences at the appropriate time. So what we are doing is teaching you to observe the puppy, and, based on the behavioral markers you see, serve the puppy the experience or lesson that is optimal for him at that moment in time. By letting the puppy lead, we are: •maximizing the benefit of any given protocol or lesson, •minimizing any danger of over facing or scaring the puppy •creating confidence and self-efficacy by presenting the appropriate level of challenge that the puppy CAN do without failing or presenting a danger to himself. Finally, we teach owners to enjoy each puppy for the precious individual he is and to tease out the best qualities in that puppy, rather than holding the puppy up to an arbitrary yardstick and labeling him as a problem if he does not measure up. Many puppies are labeled as having behavior or temperament issues when they are simply being served an inappropriate experience for their developmental age. This can hobble the puppy for the rest of his life with an unjust label that will cause people to treat him in an unthoughtful manner. By letting the puppy lead, you avoid this and enjoy your puppy for the wonderful individual that he is. So you watch the puppy and see what learning experience he's ready for. And learning what those experiences are and how to effectively serve them is a big part of the Puppy Culture program. Why is this so important? Because things that are perfect in one developmental period could be useless or even detrimental in the next, and vice versa. So we teach you to know where your puppy is developmentally, and what to do right now. "es, Puppy Culture is a 'positive,' reinforcement-based program and we do not use corrections or outmoded dominance theory, but that is really all a by-product of observing the puppy and serving him the learning experience he is asking for. And I will add that our program is based on the latest science and studies on puppy and animal rearing, and we include many experts and authors in the film to further explain the logic of the program." ~Jane Lindquist, founder of Puppy Culture


Avidog provides a very large scope of education to breeders, from long before puppies are born, labor, puppy development, early socialization, how maintain optimal health of puppies; to best breeding practices, training and raising puppies, temperment testing, and carefully matching puppies with homes.

The AviDog program components are too many to list, but include:

  • Ensuring strong and health breeding dogs, understanding genetics, epigenetics, prenatal nutrition, and ndqu more

  • How puppies develop and how to teach skills to puppies at appropriate stages of brain development

  • How to best evaluate puppies to match them with families, including temperament testing

Dr. Gayle Watkins of Avidog® International ( has actively shown and bred multipurpose golden retrievers under the Gaylan’s kennel name since 1979. Over the past thirty years, she has produced, owned and/or shown over 50 American and Canadian conformation, obedience, agility and tracking champions, as well as Master Hunters, Qualified All-Age and mission-ready Search and Rescue dogs. Her breeding program has also produced over a dozen GRCA Outstanding Dams and Sires. The keys to Gaylan’s success are the techniques Gayle has developed to rear litters, evaluate puppies, and match them to homes based on measurable traits. Recently, Gayle started Avidog® International with two co-breeders, Marcy Burke and Lise Pratt. Together, they teach these puppy rearing and evaluation systems to breeders of all types—pet, competition and working, and of all breeds. The Avidog® puppy rearing system is carefully designed, from conception to placement, to bring out the best in every puppy. It mixes science, nature and experience in a balanced blend of mental, physical, and social developmental opportunities with nutritional support. Furthermore, before pups are placed, they are thoroughly assessed on conformation (structure, type and athleticism), temperament, and working ability using a comprehensive evaluation process that seeks to give every owner the ideal puppy for them and provide them a training plan for their individual puppy.

The benefits of early socialization programs such as Puppy Culture and AviDog are huge, and give our puppies a step up in life, setting the frame work for further socialization and training after they go home. As well as setting each puppy up for a better life via things like being more resilient to stress, startle responses, and confidence in new situations, people, or things. And as Jane Lindquist says, "the proof is in the puppies", the benefits of early socialization are clear to see in our puppies!

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