What is Puppy Socialization Anyway?

When people talk about puppy socialization, they generally refer to the first 16 weeks of a dog’s life. But what is socialization?

by Laura Pakis, Certified Professional Dog Trainer, and Cynologist

When people talk about puppy socialization, they generally refer to the first 16 weeks of a dog’s life. However, this is the window of time in our puppies ’ lives that determines who they will become as adult dogs. Your puppy’s temperament, character, and behavior habits are developed during this socialization period – and will last a lifetime. In addition, 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 that inevitably arise throughout life appropriately.

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.

Puppy socialization is the crucial stage where you begin to build the close bond you share with your dog, one that will last forever. After that, 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.

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