Three Major Reasons for Proper Socialization
Socialization is not only the process of exposing your puppy or dog to a variety of people, animals and environments – it is also ensuring that these experiences are rewarding and positive for the dog. Let your dog interact at his own pace and avoid forcing him into a situation that will cause him distress.
Under-socialization or improper socialization can lead to various behavior issues later in life.
Here are three major reasons why proper socialization is so important:
1. An under-socialized dog is more likely to be reactive or defensive in unfamiliar situations
By ensuring your dog has POSITIVE interactions with all kinds of people, animals and environments, you can develop your dog’s confidence. This lays the groundwork for them to be accepting of new situations in the future.
2. Fearful dogs experience chronic stress and generalized anxiety
A poorly socialized dog may become fearful of unfamiliar experiences. They often live in a perpetual state of “fight or flight”, in which the mechanisms that are supposed to turn off stress no longer function, causing stress hormones to reach dangerous levels. One of these stress hormones, adrenalin, increases heart rates, breathing rates and blood pressure. Another hormone called cortisol decreases blood flow to the organs, promotes muscle breakdown and suppresses immune system function.
3. It can affect your dog’s healthcare and grooming options
Owners of dogs that act out in unfamiliar situations may often avoid going to the vet due to embarrassment or fear of the way their dog may behave. A struggling or aggressive animal makes it difficult, if not impossible to perform a complete, detailed medical evaluation. And without proper veterinary care, a dog’s health may suffer.
Many dog breeds require frequent grooming to maintain proper skin and fur health. If your dog cannot be handled, this grooming may become impossible.
Always remember that socialization is only beneficial if a dog finds it enjoyable. Protecting your dog from unwanted contact and ensuring only positive interactions will go a long way in building trust between you and your dog.
For early socialization, a well-run puppy class is a fantastic choice. Look for a class that offers a balance of basic training and puppy play. A good puppy class, like our Puppy Kindergarten, can set you and your dog up for a lifetime of learning together!
If you’re in need of advice for socializing an adult dog, please contact us so we can determine an action plan for you. This may include private lessons, Fearful Canine Class, Reactive Dog Classes or a combination of these.
There is no issue to big or too small – Pack of Paws is here to guide you and your dog to success!