Socialization is a familiar buzzword, but most people only understand the surface of what dog behavior professionals are trying to communicate when they use this term.
What is socialization?
Socialization refers to how we think about setting our dogs up to cope with all aspects of the environment they will need to negotiate throughout their lives. Yes, they need positive experiences with various people and dogs, but they also need to learn to cope with being handled by the vet and groomer, negotiate different surfaces, tolerate sudden scary noises, and problem-solve how to get what they want when presented with new objects or situations. Frustration, challenge, and problem-solving with a positive outcome are important aspects of any socialization plan.
Why do I need to know about socialization?
Socialization is a lifelong process, starting with the primary socialization period before 16 weeks (puppies will be most receptive to new experiences at this time). We can’t expose them to every single thing they will experience as adults, but we can teach them to be polite with social partners, stay calm when they aren’t sure what something is, and work out how to interact appropriately with their environment. A good puppy class will help you kickstart the skills you need to go out into the world and set your puppy up for success.
Puppies are not blank slates, and although some are resilient and can overcome errors or lack of socialization – their behavior and development will be impacted by their genetics and experiences prior bringing them home. The following are all factors that will form the foundation for how your puppy will cope with the world.
Confining your puppy to the house prior to having all their shots can have a negative impact on their lifelong behavior. Find a behavior professional if you need help finding safe ways to get out for positive experiences.
The following does not replace proper socialization:
There's so much more to learn to understand your pup. Check out more great articles here!
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