Few people realize the pressure that dogs are in to fit into domestic lives, as it is not in their nature to conform to domestic rules. A good learning foundation helps a puppy to become confident and well-adjusted to the human world.
Unlike us, dogs who live domestic lives barely have a choice of who to greet and who to avoid. Unfortunately, people do not understand how uncomfortable it becomes when one invades a dog’s space.
What’s more, we expect our pups to be emotionally stable even when they feel uncomfortable, something that even we humans cannot do. Therefore, it is only fair that you help your puppy to learn to react positively to social situations, keeping in mind that pups are not born social animals.
If you want your puppy to be well-mannered and friendly with the animals and people that he meets, invest time in training, and socialization at the beginning of his life.
What Is Puppy Socialization?
Socialization refers to exposing puppies and dogs to different social environments and stimuli positively, to help them become confident.
If you have a newborn pup, you should begin socializing him at around four to twelve weeks of age. Note that between four and eight weeks, puppies undergo a period known as ‘fear period.’ At this time, it is best to build positive social experiences for him.
Exposing your puppy to negative experiences during this period leaves a lasting impression on him. This explains why puppies that are bred in puppy mills have behavioral problems.
Is There Something Like Too Many Social Experiences During Socialization?
Although socialization prepares your dog for interaction with other people, dogs, and animals, too many social experiences at once may have the opposite effect. They may make your dog fear interactions and hate the human touch. Therefore, make sure that you expose your pup to one or two social situations at a time. As a result, he will adapt well in situations rather than find it hard to fit into society.
Can I Socialize My Puppy If He Is Too Young?
Did you know that puppies become more balanced emotionally when they remain with their mothers for seven to eight weeks? Puppies that are taken away from their mothers too soon mostly show fear, aggressiveness, and hyperactivity.
Early experiences with their mothers enrich puppies’ lives and make them less susceptible to developing deficiencies. These experiences also help their brains to develop normally by promoting the formation of connections between neurons on various parts of the brain.
Newly born puppies rely on touch to find their mothers, feed and find comfort. Their mothers also lick puppies’ nuzzles from birth, improving their circulation and encouraging them to eliminate to stay healthy.
Puppy Socialization with Other Dogs & Animals
To create positive experiences for your pup, ensure that good things happen when he meets other dogs.
One way of introducing your pup to other dogs is by enrolling him in playgroup classes. You ought to make sure that the other pups in the class match your puppy in size, age, and temperament. Also, make sure that he has received his vaccinations before you enroll him in these classes.
When you introduce your puppy to 0ther dogs and animals, make sure that the environment is calm and their interactions, so that you can protect the pup against negative experiences. Avoid being too excited as you introduce him to other dogs and animals, as this might overwhelm him.
Puppy Socialization with Humans
The emotional bond between a puppy and its mother is transferred to humans. However, it is important to introduce a puppy to the human touch as soon as he is born. Touch enables the pup to develop social attachments with humans as he grows.
When you get a new puppy, you must build on touch and gradually expose your puppy to new people, environments, and situations in order to socialize him. Additionally, you should supervise human interactions at all times to ensure that the puppy has positive experiences.
Some puppies are born with an automatic defense response that they use when a hand is extended to them. Older, trained dogs might be aware not to use these reflexes, but a puppy uses then unconsciously.
Desensitizing your puppy through hand targeting or touch training might help to keep these reflexes under control. Desensitization is an important lesson for dogs because, throughout their lives, people are going to extend their hands and touch their heads.
Socializing your puppy will help him to learn to adapt to the pressure that comes with social situations. Socialization teaches your dog to be friendly and how to tackle challenges confidently. The key to proper socialization is creating positive experiences for your dog all the time.