Every year thousands of dogs are turned into animal shelters for behavior issues that could have been addressed with socialization and training. Raising a happy, healthy affectionate and well-mannered dog does take some effort, but it can be fun. One of the most important aspects of dog training is socialization. In fact, providing your puppy with a broad range of experiences prior to the age of four months has been proven to be one of the most critical factors in raising a stable, confident dog.
Socialization is simply introducing your puppy to a broad range of new experiences, people, environments and activities. This exposure to a wide variety of new experiences results in a dog that will easily adjust to new things as they occur throughout their life. Socialization helps your dog to be more secure, confident and self-assured.
Socialization should include:
People – from infants to elderly, different sizes, ethnicities and features (glasses, hats, beards, etc.)
Places – urban areas, country settings, parks, friend’s homes, your kid’s soccer games, and simply walks around the neighborhood.
Things – dog-friendly cats or other pets, appliances (blenders, vacuums, dishwashers, etc.), cars, buses, trees and flowers.
Activities – car rides, elevators, concerts, picnics, vacations or the beach.
Remember, virtually everything is new to your puppy, so don’t be limited by thinking it may be something they’ve seen before. Do a good job now, and you will be rewarded for many years with a dog that easily adapts to any situation.