by Laura Pakis, Certified Professional Dog Trainer and Blogger
When people talk about puppy socialization they are generally referring to the first 16 weeks of a dog’s life. This is the window of time in our puppy’s lives that determines who they will become as adult dogs. The temperament, character and behavior habits of your puppy are developed during this socialization period – and will last a lifetime. It affects how your puppy will relate to his family, strangers, animals and the environment in which he lives.
Puppy socialization stimulates the five senses of your young dog. It is the introduction, exposure and desensitization to the sights, sounds, smells, tastes and touch of everyday life. The socialization period conditions your puppy to the many different situations he needs to be familiar with and comfortable around. It also prepares him to deal with the new experiences and challenges which inevitably arise throughout life in an appropriate manner.
Puppy socialization is the crucial stage where you begin to build the close bond you share with your dog, one that will last forever. It’s up to you – any puppy can become a well adjusted and trusted member of society through proper socialization.
We owe it to our puppies to provide them with thorough socialization and training – all dogs need to be socialized regardless of breed type, where you bought the puppy from or anything else you may think of.
There are two main types of puppy socialization:
Active – Things we purposely introduce to our dogs like obedience training, visiting new people and rides in the car.
Passive – What your puppy comes across on her own such as exploring the plants in the back yard.
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