Whole Dog Journal Tips September 20, 2013

(Socializing Your Puppy or Dog Making a Difference #4) Socializing Your Puppy or Dog: Making a Lifelong Difference

You’d better get out there and get started! There’s no such thing as overkill when it comes to properly done socialization. You can’t do too much. Pups who are super-socialized tend to assume that new things they meet later in life are safe and good until proven otherwise.

Dogs who are very well-socialized as pups are least likely to develop aggressive behaviors in their lifetimes. Pups who aren’t well-socialized tend to be suspicious and fearful of new things they meet throughout their lives, and are most likely to eventually bite someone.

If your pup comes to you from a socially impoverished environment, you’ll already see the signs of neophobia. You have no time to lose, and you may never be able to make up all the ground he’s lost, but you can make him better than he’d be otherwise.

• Don’t despair if you adopted your pup from a shelter or rescue group. It’s true that if you never see Mom or Dad, you won’t get any hints about their behavior. So how do you know how much socialization your pup needs to overcome any genetic weakness in temperament? You don’t. But you don’t need to. The answer to the genetic mystery is to super-socialize every single puppy, regardless of what you think you know, or don’t know, about his genetics. If you do that, you’re guaranteed to help your pup be everything he can be, socially speaking.

For more details and advice on ways to socialize puppy or dog, purchase Whole Dog Journal’s ebook Socializing Your Puppy or Dog: Making a Lifelong Difference.