Puppy Socialization: Getting It Right is Imperative
Puppy socialization is the only period of a dog’s life when you can actually change and create most of the dog’s behaviors that will stay with him throughout his life. Essentially, you can completely shape your dog’s view of the surrounding world and how he will react to it and behave in it.
How many of you know that during the puppy socialization period you can even manage (or completely change) a dog’s instincts and drives?
Now many of you may ask yourself something like; “Why would I need to know this?”
The answer is very simple: You don’t have a choice!
There are only two ways in which your dog will grow out of his puppy socialization period and into a young dog:
- With your input and guidance. Do you have a dog that will behave properly and be a valuable part of the family and society?
- Or your dog will create behavior patterns on his own and you will have to deal with them at some point later in life. Dealing with already established behavior patterns will require time, investment, and there are no guarantees that it will be successful.
So how much time do you have?
Approximately 16 weeks; by the 16th week around 85% of a dog’s brain is developed and the puppy socialization window is almost closed. What your dog hasn’t learned or gotten familiar with by this point will become a problem down the road. At that point in time, it will become a long, time-consuming process to fix/adjust it and as mentioned, in some cases it would be impossible to fully overcome.
How easy is it to make mistakes when socializing your puppy?
In today’s world there is a lot of information on how to do proper puppy socialization, but unfortunately most of that information is based on outdated concepts that either tell you to keep your puppy away from everything until he is about 6 months or older (which will probably create fear-related behaviors), or to invest your time into overcrowded puppy kindergartens or supervised dog parks where your dog will just become classically conditioned to get overexcited every time he sees another dog.
The same goes with your dog’s reactions to other people, inadequate exposure may create an aggressive dog; however inappropriate exposure will create a dog that will get hyper-excited every time he spots someone on the street.
In order to avoid mistakes and not to waste your valuable time, check the links below to find details and guidance in how to get the best out of your puppy’s socialization period.
Where to start?
This is a step-by-step guide to the first levels and steps of puppy socialization. Most people don’t know that the first steps are done shortly after the puppy is born (in the neonatal phase) and go on from there. Here you can find out what the duties of responsible breeders are, and how many issues can be created before the first 6 weeks of your dog’s life. What are your first steps as the dog’s owner? For more details about puppy development click here!
Puppies and Distractions
This is one of the biggest steps in your dog’s life. How your dog will deal with distractions and the world around, in general. Dogs are animals completely different than humans and they have different relationships and views of the world than we do. If you skip this important step with your dog, and don’t create behavior patterns that you like, your dog will create his own behaviors during the puppy socialization stage.
If your dog ends up with dysfunctional behavior patterns towards the environment, you will have only partial and limited success in fixing these down the road. In order to start out on the right foot, click here!
Playing is one of the most important aspects of a dog’s life. It is much more than just a game; it is a type of language. Playing with your puppy is much more that being silly and goofy. This is a structured activity that has many rules;
- When to play with your puppy
- How to play with your puppy
- How to control dog’s energy and how to redirect his energy and focus through game
- The purpose of toys
Playing with your puppy is the first step in building a solid relationship during the puppy socialization period and it goes throughout your dog’s life. For more details click here!
Puppy socialization ideas, tips and hands on training plans
We have all heard of and pretty much have an opinion of what and how puppy socialization should look. But do you know what “localization” or “site attachment” are? These are a normal part of the socialization program in which you teach your dog how to see the world around and where you teach your dog self-control, and create certain responses to certain situations. In this part of the website you can find:
- How to present new situations to your dog
- How to introduce new people
- How to introduce new dogs and other animals
- Hands on tips and techniques
- Ideas for your puppy socialization plans and more
For more details about this please click here!
This part of the website was created for you, so that you can give the best start to your dog, remember that we can do training or other dog related exercises and activities down the road, but once the socialization period is done, we can’t turn back time and reopen the box again.
What about the dogs that have missed out on proper socialization during the puppy socialization period?
Dealing with dogs that have missed out on proper socialization during the puppy socialization period and now are displaying what we call “dysfunctional behavior patterns” goes under the behavior modification umbrella. Some dog trainers also try remedial socialization.
Remedial socialization is basically just a different term for exercises in which you use desensitizing and counter conditioning principles.
How much can remedial socialization help?
That depends on the issue and the dog himself. If you are dealing with a dog that shows a behavior pattern in some situations that you would like to address, I would like to recommend that you to read the Dog behavior issues part of the website where you can find information about the most common dog problems, as well as the ways in which to solve them like:
- Desensitizing and counter-conditioning
- Behavior Adjustment Training
- Constructional Aggression Treatment
Puppy training is the next step
The next step is puppy training. On this part of the website, we will cover topics that all dog owners encounter with a new puppy from day one:
For more details click here
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