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 is the training process that helps dogs develop social confidence. Dogs ideally are gently, systematically exposed and desensitized to environmental and social stimuli throughout their lifetimes. Though your dog may not have had ideal early socialization, it is never to late to counter condition new, positive emotional responses to elements of the world around them.
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 previously not bothered by may suddenly evoke concern, and these arousal triggers 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 appropriate dog training is a great way to gradually, safely expose your dog to both new people and other pets and to help them form new, confident, relaxed social responses.
Does your dog show high levels of social stress and inappropriate social behavior?
If your dog afraid of new places, people, 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.