Socıalızatıon Of A Puppy
The first weeks of your puppy in its new home are the most important days of its life. Puppyhood is the most important and critical time in your dog’s development, a window of time in our puppy’s lives that determines who they will become as adult dogs. The temperament, character and behavior habits of your puppy are developed during this socialization period – and will last a lifetime. It affects how your puppy will relate to his family, strangers, animals and the environment in which he lives. If we fail to sufficiently socialize our puppies at this age to all sorts of dogs and all sorts of people, we will wind up having a dog that is always scared of other dogs and people. An un-socialized dog is untrustworthy and an unwanted liability. They often become fear-biters. Often they like to fight with other dogs. They are difficult to train and are generally unpleasant to be around. Unsocialized dogs cannot adapt to new situations and a simple routine visit to the vet is a nightmare not only for the dog itself, but for everyone involved.
We can define Socialization as “an ongoing process of changes and additions in a puppy’s life, to experience all sorts of environmental stimuli gradually, in a controlled manner.” This includes forming relationships with all types of people, other dogs and different species in various environments, however, socializing your puppy to new things should be a positive and pleasant experience for it. Learning is stressful and you should expose it at a rate that it can absorb new information, not be overwhelmed by it.
All puppies need socialization, yet, to a what degree depends on the dog’s age, race, and the genetic features.
From three to twelve weeks of age, a puppy is in one of the most important developmental periods of its life. It is receptive to new things that later may prove to be more difficult for it to adjust to. Any later than that and it becomes an excruciatingly difficult and time-consuming process that very few owners have the time, energy, money or patience to cope with. Although 12 week is assumed to be the end stage of the socialization, experiences and efforts should continue for further socialization. As with all other skills, if not used on a regular basis throughout the life of the dog, social skills will also become blunt.
THE PUPPY DURING CRITICAL STAGE OF SOCIALIZATION;
1- Should meet at least 10 new people every week and these people should give him a favorite food
2- Should meet at least five new friendly dog every week
3- Should recognize the average about of 3 other animals constantly it might encounter in the future
4- Should go at least five different places every week and should see the different environments
5- Should be taken to the veterinary clinic once a week to have a tasty food from the vet
6- Should begin to become familiar with different sounds and images it can encounter at home, in the garden or nearby
7- Should get short car rides with you, 2-3 times a week
8- Should do 10 minute walks with you 2-3 times a week. You can ask for a little food from people you meet during these walks. Please keep away from dirty places and unvaccinated animals.
9- At first glance, it may seem as if there are a lot of work to be done, in fact you can perform many of the these during same walk
10- During this socialization period, it is very important that your dog do not have a bad experience. Therefore, be sure to check the environment as possible. If your dog is scared of anything, do not hit him or do not try to calm him down because it will only further strengthen its fear and reaction. Just get away from that environment with your dog quickly but calmly. Then, to live a positive experience as soon as possible, try to find a good opportunity, and if necessary, try to create.
Upon completion of this first stage of socialization, socialization process should continue until your pup is 18 months. Some young dogs have a period they feel insecure and fearful between 6-12 months. If socialization during this period does not continue with a positive approach, your dog may develop phobias and aggression to other animals and / or against people.
STAGES OF SOCIALIZATION
1-“Socialization with other dogs” between the third and seventh weeks. If the puppy spends this time with its mother with its brothers and other good-natured dogs, it wins all the behavioral characteristics it needs to be an adult dog in proper social communication with other dogs. That is why a puppy should never be seperated from the mother before it is 8-10 weeks old.
2-“Socialization with people” between the seventh and the eleventh weeks. This period is most appropriate for the dog to recognize many different people.
3-“Period of Fear” between eighth and eleventh weeks. Puppies can go through a fear period where it’s very susceptible to physical and psychological trauma, and if something bad happens during that 2 week period, the effects could be permanent and irreversible. Many experts have different opinions whether this perod of fear actually exists. However, regardless of its existance, a puppy owner should remember that this period is a part of puppy’s character development, and therefore, all kinds of scary and unpleasant experience should be avoided.