Whole Dog Journal Tips July 25, 2011

(Socializing Your Puppy or Dog #3) 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.


  • It’s useful to see your pup’s parents – at least the mother, if at all possible. If Mom is timid or aggressive there’s a good chance her pups will be, too. The pups’ behavior still can’t be attributed solely to genes; pups can learn fearful or aggressive behavior by watching their mother’s response to humans and other environmental stimuli, a behavioral phenomenon known as social facilitation. If you’ve been paying attention you’ll remember that genes and environment both play a role in behavior – always.

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

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