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WHAT I S S O C I A L I Z AT I O N ?
THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOUR PUPPY NEEDS BESIDES FOOD!
Socialization is the process during which the puppy develops relationships with
other living beings in its environment. It is literally introducing your puppy to as
many different environments as possible. Socialization is one of the most
important things that you can do for your new puppy besides feeding him!
Dogs that are well socialized are happy, secure, confident pets who will readily
interact with all types of people. A socialized puppy will easily play with a wide
variety of dogs. He is not afraid of most objects and may be cautious about
certain things but he does not panic and he recovers quickly if startled.
WHY IS SOCIALIZATION SO IMPORTANT ?
To reduce the possibility of fearful responses as a puppy grows and matures, it is
essential to expose young puppies to many stimuli (people, places and things,
sounds, smells, events). Early handling and events that occur during the first 2 to
4 months of life, are critical factors in the social development of the dog. Dogs
that receive insufficient exposure to people, other animals, sounds, and new
environments during this time may develop irreversible fears, leading to timidity
or aggression. The number one cause of death among dogs is behavior problems
stemming from a lack of socialization!
PRIMARY SOCIALIZATION. There is a
sensitive period in the development of most
species when they develop social attachments
with their own kind and other species. The events
that occur during this socialization period
determines the puppy’s future social partners, as
well as to what species it feels it belongs. By
recognizing the critical time frame in which canine
socialization develops, you can help to ensure a
healthy social attachment to people and other
animals, including other dogs.
The primary socialization period for dogs begins at
3 weeks of age and is diminishing by 12 weeks.
Peak sensitivity is at 6 to 8 weeks. Beyond 12
weeks there is a tendency to act fearfully towards
new people, animals and situations. Many young
dogs will regress or become fearful again if they
do not receive continued social interaction as they
grow and develop. The 6-8 month period is
another important time for socialization.
To help a healthy social relationship with other
dogs throughout life, dogs should maintain their
social contacts with their mother and littermates
until 6 to 8 weeks of age. They should continue to
have regular social interaction and play sessions
with other friendly dogs after it is taken into a
new home. The puppy would do best if there if it
had regular, sociable playmates in the
neighborhood that it could interact with on a daily