Puppy and Adult Dog Socialization
Some dogs seem to be afraid of their own shadows, and they suffer for their lack of confidence. Others develop fear-based aggression, causing them to become dangerous.
Socialization—the training process that helps dogs develop social confidence—ideally is reinforced throughout a dog’s lifetime. Socialization is the process through which dogs are familiarized and desensitized to stressors associated with new people, animals, and places. The properly socialized dog responds with generalized confidence based on past experiences. Socialization protects your dog from anxiety and fear in social situations.
Socialization is important and must be maintained for dogs of all ages. Puppies go through critical periods of social development that are influenced, for better or worse, by their environments and social experiences. This is especially true during the first 12 weeks of life when temperament is being formed through exposure to new people, animals, and environments. If a puppy is not raised with appropriate exposure to a properly introduced array of social experiences during imprinting he may grow into a fearful, suspicious, or even aggressive adult dog.
It is important to continue to socialize your adult dog. Puppies that were well socialized early in life may still begin to react with timidity or aggression during social encounters as adults. This is especially true if active socialization stops before the dog enters adolescence. At this age many puppies go through a newly suspicious developmental stage as they begin to relate to the world as still-somewhat-vulnerable young adults. Things a puppy was unbothered by may suddenly evoke concern, and this can include people as well as other animals.
While genetic dog temperament is a factor, all dogs benefit from optimized social shaping throughout their lifetimes. Participation in dog training classes is a great way to expose your dog to both new people and other pets.
Does your dog show high levels of social stress and maladaptive social behavior? Is your dog afraid of new places or environmental triggers such as thunderstorms? The best training option is to start with a private consultation. This is done with a 90 minute, one-on-one lesson that includes an assessment and customized behavioral modification program engineered to suit your dog’s specific socialization and confidence-building needs.
Call Peggy at 708-323-2722 or submit the enrollment form to get started!