Socialization has always been the most talked about topic in the dog lovers communities across the globe. While many dog owners are adequately experienced in socializing their puppies, others may have many questions, the most common of which are: why socializing my puppy is a necessity? How to socialize my puppy? What should my puppy be socialized to?
When you bring your puppy home the first couple things that need to be kept in the forefront of your mind are… a healthy and hygienic environment for your puppy and yourself and a scientific bring up strategy. Now what does this scientific bring up strategy stands for? Well, by this I meant to indicate a bring up method for your puppy so as to give him/her a balanced life, with proper health and right behavior.
Teaching “right behavior” doesn’t only mean teaching your puppy not to greet his loved ones by jumping on them, or to act as you desire on commands. The idea is a little more broad than what you may think of. A dog will be considered to have a “Balanced” and “Right” behavior if he/she is taught to consider certain situations as harmless and non-challenging, and when shows calm and relaxed behavior. This is something that cannot be achieved in a fortnight. Throughout your bringing up process your puppy should be socialized to as many adversities (situations, sights and sounds) as possible. Socializing you puppy is essentially an integral part of an organized bringing up process and should be started out at a very early stage – preferably at an age of 4 to 12 weeks.
Your goal in socializing your puppy
As the basic puppy care tips I would wish to say The goal that you need to set is to give your dog a perfectly balanced life through making him understand that certain situations, sights and sounds are harmful and/or challenging. This can be done through properly exposing your puppy or dog to those factors (situations, sights and sounds). The goal should be to help your puppy or dog to get conditioned to those factors by helping him or her to gain experiences, thereby learning to consider those factors as harmless.
Debunking a few common myths about socializing your dogs
As the goal is to share your life with safer, more relaxed, enjoyable and truly dependable canine companion, it may sound a little hard, and too technical for common dog owners to understand the methods. The fact unleashed: socializing is a very natural process where, as a leader of the pack, your primary role is to plan on what you want your dog to be socialized to. Secondarily, you need to introduce your dogs to those situations continuously and consistently until he/she start considering those situations as friendly.
However all you need to remember that the situations, which your dog is put to, must not be overwhelming for him/her. Remember, puppies have comparatively lower stress bearing limit than their adult counterpart. Canine senior citizens also have comparatively lower stress bearing limit. The introductory process needs to be very natural, calm and SHOULD NEVER BE FORCEFUL. Force will only worsen up the situation for your puppy and you cannot socialize him/her. Each time your puppy is exposed to something, he should not be overwhelmingly stressed.
Say, if you want to socialize your puppy to a group of children and noise created by them, then he/she may cower back in the corner. Do not apply force to take him near the kids. Remember, you need to be a very good observer, and you must keep a constant and close eye on your puppy’s behavior towards a specific situation. Some situations or sounds may prove to be overtly stressful for your puppy, while others may be quite smooth for him/her. If you find your puppy getting excessively stressed out, you should calm him/her by toning down the stress factor.
Although at the very early stage (3 to 12 weeks old) a puppy tends to be quite inquisitive about gathering new experiences – especially smells and situations, this may something turn out to be quite scary for them too. If you notice your puppy getting timid, and showing shyness and lack of confidence to certain new experience(s), start introducing him/her in a very gradual way and progressively. A sudden exposure to a frightening experiences should be avoided, as it will only worsen up his/her experience and he/she will never learn to consider it as harmless.
What type of situations should your puppy be socialized to?
There could be innumerable experiences that a owner may like to socialize to. However, some of the most come experiences.
People of disability, and/or in wheelchairs and crutches
Older people – senior citizens who cannot walk normally
Crowd, group of kids or adults, playing and making noise
Men with unusual mustache and/ or beards
Person carrying certain things, like umbrellas, helmets, masks, hats, sunglasses, strollers, wagons, parcels, sack etc.
People: Bikers – Bikers, cyclists, skateboarders
People in usual garments
Fireworks and crackers
Separation for few hours
Other animals and pets
Conditioning to grooming sessions
Puppy socialization classes in your location may be safe and organized means of socializing puppies. However, try to get as much information as possible before you enroll your puppy’s name in any socializing classes. Canine behaviorists have associated many dog attack incidences with lack of socialization. Understanding dog attacks is hence important for any dog owner.