First time puppie parents may need clarification on what is dog socialization. So understanding that dog socialization is the process of exposing a puppy to different people, places, animals, new textures, new objects and experiences in order to help them become comfortable and confident in new environments is important. The most important time to do this is in the first 6 months of a puppies life as this is the key development stage for puppies.
Doing this helps to make them better adjusted and less fearful, which can help reduce stress levels and aggression. Puppies can become shy or growly around children or strangers, too, unless they have met and enjoyed meeting a bunch of them. It also helps to build positive relationships between humans and dogs.Under-socialized dogs are at much greater risk of developing all sorts of behavioral problems stemming from fear—aggression, agoraphobia, and reactivity towards certain people and animals, for example.
All too often what is dog socialization to some puppy parents will be a puppy playdate or just focusing on playing with other dogs. While meeting new dogs or being exposed to new dogs is important. This isn’t the end all, be all of dog socialization. Remembering that some dogs may not be good in big groups of dogs or may be more timid when meeting other dogs. So understanding your dog’s body language is important when they are in this experience. Forcing your dog into an experience that they are not comfortable in can actually have a traumatic affect on them.
Dog Socialization Do's
- Think about the things your puppy will see every week as an adult: Visit those places, see those people, or experience those things now.
- Help your puppy form positive associations: Cheer and praise her when she encounters something new. Offer a treat whenever possible.
- If you live in an area that has seasonable weather, don’t forget to let your dog see you in a coat and hat if she will be past the 6 months when it is winter. If your dog is only used to men without facial hair, make sure they see men WITH facial hair. Make sure your dog sees you with a hat on, an umbrella, a backpack.
- Introduce your dog to 3 new textures, new objects each week.
Teach your puppy that the world is safe and prevent behavior problems in the future. If you have questions or need help with dog socialization for your puppy, please feel free to contact me.