As you know, socialization is a big part of properly raising your dog. In fact, it is one of the words that most dog trainers will say to you: “Socialize. Socialize. Socialize.” That is because it is integral in preventing many problems such as fearfulness and aggression. Today, we are going to look at the key periods of puppy socialization and development from the moment you bring your puppy home to adulthood.
If you haven’t already, I recommend that you read part one of our puppy socialization series. Find it here.
What is Socialization?
Before we launch into the key periods, I wanted to touch on what socialization is. Before this stage, your puppy was being socialized by his mother, littermates, and the humans who were taking care of him. Now that he is with you, socialization is your job. While it can be easy to accomplish, it is important to have some understanding of what socialization is.
If we were to describe what socialization is, it is simply building confidence in your dog. This is confidence with his environment, other dogs, people, and any situation he encounters. It is teaching a dog to feel comfortable regardless of the situation.
Often, when people socialize, they focus on dog-to-dog socialization. However, socialization is so much more than that. A dog should be socialized to a number of stimuli both in the house and outside of it. This includes other dogs, people, and even experiences such as walking on tile or carpet.
Socialization is best when your puppy is young. However, it is a process that should continue throughout the life of your dog. Socializing a puppy extensively and then keeping him only at home as an adult, will lead to problems occurring such as fear or dog aggression later in life.
So when you are socializing, be sure to make it a part of your dog’s everyday routine so he can be comfortable in that routine.