5757 CR 64 Spencerville, IN 46788 260-238-4911 Lori Heidrich (owner)
To God Be the Glory
What is Socializing Your Dog... and Why is it Important?
Being social means accepting and being comfortable with the culture and behaviors of a community. Because our dogs live in our human community, socializing them means exposing them to everything they can expect to see and experience in their lifetimes and teach them that these things are normal and not threatening. It is our responsibility to introduce and familiarize our dogs to new experiences - including people, places, objects and other animals - in ways that help them learn how to respond to these experiences appropriately and without fear. Simply allowing your dog to play with his canine housemate or even taking him for an occasional walk around the block is not sufficient socialization.
The most important socialization period in a dog’s life is from 7 weeks to about 5 months of age. Experiences he has during this period, be they positive or negative, will affect him for the rest of his life. A well-run puppy class can be the best investment you make for your dog (see the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior’s position statements on Puppy Socialization and How to Choose a Trainer).
Continuing socialization, especially through young adulthood is necessary to maintain your dog’s trusting response to the world in which he lives. If your dog is older, he can learn positive social associations that will allow him to feel relaxed and not threatened but it will likely take more time and may require help from an experienced trainer.