Educators, behaviorists, veterinarians, and anyone who works with our 4-legged friends will tell you: socialization is an essential phase in a dog’s life. If neglected, the animal is sure to develop various behavioral disorders.
Socialization is a crucial step in the development of the puppy and greatly determine its behavior in adulthood. It’s an essential component of the education and balance of the animal. A well-socialized dog will be much more pleasant to live with, even if that does not mean that It will systematically let Itself be walked on. This will in no way alter Its character or Its personality but will improve Its attitude towards Its fellows and other living beings that It will encounter during Its future life.
Before socialization: the impregnation phase
The impregnation corresponds to one of the first stages of the life of the puppy. During this period, the young dog learns to identify Its congeners by being with Its mother, Its brothers and Its sisters. It’s for this reason that it’s necessary that the puppy is not separated from its parent before the age of 7 or 8 weeks.
Then, it can be gradually introduced to adult dogs, other humans, and animals of different species in order to accustom it to their presence and their various behaviors. This will then be the actual socialization phase.
Learn the canine codes
The socialization stage usually begins around 8 weeks of age, which is just after the puppy leaves its mother. It will then extend until the age of 16 weeks. The duration of this phase is therefore 2 months. It will allow the young dog to integrate canine behavioral and social codes.
Concretely, this results in the establishment of relationships with other dogs: by the reactions of Its congeners vice versa Its own actions, the puppy will begin to know the limits not to be exceeded. It will understand that It will not be able to bite, kick, and annoy others without making them react. It will also learn to bond with others.
After this phase and from 5 months, the puppy will also learn to situate Itself in relation to the “ pack ”. The notion of hierarchy then comes into play and the animal will naturally seek to occupy the best possible place.
Frequent and quality meetings
The socialization of the puppy must consist of both frequent and quality encounters with other animals.
In fact, the more opportunities the young dog has to rub shoulders with other living beings during this phase, the more It will be used to their presence. Thus, It will improve Its attitude towards everyone It meets.
However, it’s not always easy for owners to find the time to do so. The ideal would be to get in touch with other teachers living nearby in order to organize as many meetings as possible.
It will be necessary to ensure that these groups include dogs of various ages and, if possible, that the animals have the possibility of evolving without their leashes (or else long leashes which allow them sufficient freedom of movement).
The quality of these connections is just as important: frequenting dogs that are too aggressive or too shy can not be beneficial for the puppy. It is advisable to learn about the behaviors of other dogs, but do not trust their appearance. A massive dog is not necessarily aggressive and a small dog can tend to attack.
Anyway, it should be kept in mind that the puppy risks, at times, to be mistreated by others or, on the contrary, to behave badly with them. It is only by increasing the number of encounters with congeners, humans, and other animals that these faults can be corrected.