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What is dog socialization?

with 2 comments

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Socializing Sammy

Dog trainers like me forget that we sometimes speak our own language.  Yesterday, after I kept repeating that her puppy needed socialization urgently, my client asked what that meant.  My bad.  Not everyone knows.  When I searched my usual resources to find a succinct definition, it wasn’t easy to find.  Everyone expects you to already know.  So, thanks for the great question.

Dr. Ian Dunbar, the founder of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers defines it as, “Socialization is the process of becoming familiar with all kinds of animals, people, places, and things; as well as learning how to behave in society.”

People want their dogs to feel safe and comfortable in all of the situations that they encounter in the future.  Dogs should be happy to explore new places, meet new people, and meet new dog friends.  There should be no fear associated with these encounters.

Socialization is one of the most urgent priorities of puppy owners because their is a window of time where puppies are most accepting of this process.  I have written a few articles on socialization, and I can see the need to do more.  Basically we expose puppies to new people, places, and things at an intensity where the pup is comfortable.  We also pair the experience with delightful things like toys, play, and food.  Dr. Dunbar and another one of my heroes, Dr. Sophia Yin have written many books and articles on the subject.  Stay tuned for more blogs about socialization from Oh Behave too.

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2 Responses

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  1. Dogs need to be introduced to new people, dogs and other pets. If they are limited in their exposure to other people and animals they will act out when they are thrown into a situation they are uncomfortable with. It is important to gradually have them socialize with other dogs at a young age and throughout their development to create a positive behavior.

    Caleb

    May 9, 2014 at 9:39 am

  2. Great post! Been reading a lot about getting my dog to operate well around other dogs. Thanks for the info here!

    Dog Training

    May 30, 2014 at 9:05 am


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