Rule of 7 – Puppy Socialization Technique

  • We at Golden Meadows Retrievers have discovered a great socialization technique known as the Rule of 7.

    Our Rule of 7 was adapted from Dr. Carmen Battaglia’s guide for increasing puppy’s exposure:

Rule of 7

Dr. Carmen Battaglia created the Rule of 7’s as a guide to increase a puppy’s exposure.  You do not have to follow it to the letter, but make sure your puppy is current on all shots before taking him out into a strange area.  By the time a puppy is 3 months, make sure he has:

  1. Been on 7 different types of surfaces:  carpet, tile, linoleum, concrete, wood, vinyl, grass, dirt, gravel, and wood chips.
  2. Played with 7 different types of objects:  rope toys, plush toys, big balls, small balls, soft fabric toys, squeaky toys, paper or cardboard items, metal items, and sticks.            
  3. Been in 7 different locations:  front & back yard, basement, kitchen, car, garage, laundry room, bathroom, kids room, living room, hallway, Vet’s office, groomers.
  4. Met and played with 7 new people:  include children and older adults, someone walking with a cane or in a wheelchair or walker, someone tall, someone in a hat.
  5. Been exposed to 7 challenges:  climb on a box, go through a tunnel, climb steps, go down steps, climb over obstacles, play hide and seek, go in and out of a doorway with a step up or down, run around a fence.
  6. Eaten from 7 different containers:  metal, plastic, cardboard, paper, human hands, pie plate, tin pan, frying pan, Frisbee, elevated bowl.
  7. Eaten in 7 different locations:  crate, yard, exercise pen, basement, laundry room, living room, bathroom, back yard.


Each new, positive experience will help your puppy flourish into a confident companion.  Allow your puppy to learn passively by letting them to explore on their own, but make sure he is 100% supervised and that it is a controlled environment.  Do not use any harsh training methods with a puppy, because you will break the bond of trust. Training should be fair and fun. 

We think all puppies should go through the puppy socialization called the “Rule of 7.” The rule of 7 is a technique we learned to help introduce our Golden Retriever puppies to new environments and get them used to many different things they may encounter in their lives. Much like ENS (early Neurological Stimulation) the Rule of seven introduces the pups to small stresses that will help boost confidence, social behavior, and their train-ability.

Our rule of 7 works by introducing pups starting at 4 weeks of age to 7 new things they hadn’t had a lot of contact with before. Four days later we change these to 7 new items. So by the time you pick up your Golden Meadows puppy they have been introduced to 49 different or new things/changes. When your puppy goes home they can be a cute, confident pup ready to trek across carpet, tile or wood floors, play with balls, squeaky toys and chase sticks and begin to work on obedience.

Here’s an excerpt from our rule of 7 form:

Choose a Number (1-7) from each Category (A-G) and this litter gets introduced to these 7 things for the Next 4 days. On the 5th day choose a different Number (1-7) from each category (A-G) and this litter gets introduced to these 7 things for the Next 4 days. Etc…. Put the start date on each choice. Cross off the ones you chose on the last day so we don’t have a repeat. By the time puppies are 8 weeks old they will have been introduced to serval new things and areas. This improves their ability to cope with stress, socializing, and train-ability.

A. Different types of Surfaces:

  1. Hard Wood Floor _____
  2. Vinyl, or linoleum flooring _____
  3. Fake Grass _____
  4. Real Grass _____
  5. Dirt or Sand or Gravel _____
  6. Carpet _____
  7. Tile, or stone, concrete _____

A. Different types of Surfaces:

  1. Different sized balls _____
  2. Squeaky toys _____
  3. Hard plastic/ rubber or metal items _____
  4. Soft fabric toys _____
  5. Natural items, sticks _____
  6. Water, pools (weather permitting) _____
  7. Ropes _____

We hope to encourage those who purchase our wonderful golden retriever puppies to continue to introduce them to new things every week or every month. It keeps them happy and helps them explore their world in a safe prepared way.


Another Avid Dog lover wrote a wonderful blog about the Rule of 7’s: The Rule of 7s in Puppy Socialization