Getting a dog, its owners understand that it needs to be fed, treated, and cared for. In the very first weeks of the baby’s life, it is also necessary to take care of its socialization, so that in the future there will be no problems.
Why do I need to socialize my dog
Dogs that throw themselves at passing cars, chase cats, and bark for no reason are vivid examples of insufficient socialization. Such an animal will not listen to the owner, it will be driven by its own instincts. A socialized dog, on the contrary, will remain calm in any situation, will not show fear and aggression. For urban dogs, adaptation to life in society is a necessary measure. The owner should do this and start from about two months of age, when the puppy will part with his mother. From now on, you will be the main teacher for the new family member.
If you do not deal with the puppy, leaving it to itself, there is a risk of getting too shy or overly aggressive animal. You may not notice any consequences from inattention to your pet, but one day in an unusual situation it will turn against you. It is very important to teach your pet to behave properly on the street, communicate with animals and people, and react correctly in any situation. The main condition is to behave correctly, not to be too soft with the dog and not too hard.
Three stages of early socialization
The puppy is socialized from the very first days of life, first in the dog family, then with you. Experts distinguish three stages of early socialization:
- The first stage – up to 7 weeks, the puppy lives with his mother, sisters and brothers, learns to interact with them;
- The second stage is from 8 to 11 weeks, the most important time. Puppies are the most receptive to information, ready to learn and explore the world. It is important that the animal’s psyche does not suffer from fear at this time, so it should not be frightened;
- The third stage is from 12 to 18 weeks, the time when the dog is already quite independent. He continues to study the world and analyze, is already able to keep emotions under control and assess the degree of danger in different situations.
The first stage
At the first stage of early socialization, the puppy gets used to the environment, sounds and smells, fellow animals and people. The dog learns the pain of bites, understands how to interact with toys. At this age, puppies get tired quickly, but they need little time to rest, they are constantly active. Outwardly, this is a funny shaggy lump, but now the dog is becoming a person. In many ways, this is influenced by observations of the mother and brothers. The dog begins to adopt their habits, repeats the movements. During this period, a person for a puppy is an older friend, whom he distinguishes from his mother.
The second stage
Continuation of early socialization – the transformation of the baby into a teenager. The knowledge of the surrounding world continues, and they are joined by the knowledge of one’s own body and its capabilities. The puppy develops its own personality, begins to compete with brothers and sisters.
In the second stage, the puppy usually leaves his family and goes to a new home. This period is characterized by natural difficulties – the animal gets into new conditions, meets new people, gets used to them. If there are animals in the house that are not always friendly, the adaptation process becomes even more difficult. The task of the puppy in this period is to realize the fact that now he will live away from his mother and all the usual things. The new owner should help him in everything, not be afraid of new family members, not be afraid either at home or on walks. It is important to be kind to the puppy, but not to overdo it. You need to praise and caress the dog for running errands and correct behavior.
Another task of the second stage of socialization is to teach the child to distinguish between their own and others, to avoid everyday dangers. A puppy can run away from home at someone’s call, chase a cat or other dog, pick up something from the ground and eat it, or let an outsider treat him. It is necessary to stop such behavior strictly, but without violence. It is forbidden to beat a puppy, and it is not necessary to shout at it. The right tactic is to inculcate correct behavior during walks from early childhood. All undesirable actions are strictly suppressed by a loud and clear “no”.
The third stage
The last stage of early socialization precedes the dog’s puberty. This time is characterized by a change in behavior. Owners of puppies should be prepared for the fact that the pet was cute, and will become aggressive. He may start to cling to other dogs or react angrily to people.
Having passed the age of six months, the dog understands who is part of its “close circle” – the owner, his family members and friends who are constantly at home, and who is an outsider. The pet’s behavior will vary depending on the breed. If this is a companion dog, it will not become too aggressive, although sometimes it can show such an emotion, becomes nervous and does not always behave adequately in the absence of the owner. If this is a dog of fighting breeds, the degree of aggressiveness will be more significant.
The importance of social contacts
For successful socialization, the puppy must be in contact with people aged 1-12 weeks. After that, contact with the person should also be permanent. If you limit them, the puppy will begin to form undesirable behavior. He will be wary of people, show fear, sometimes excessive caution, increased anxiety. Some dogs may only be afraid of men or only children, and this will be a phobia-level fear.
Constant contacts with people of different genders and ages will facilitate socialization, and the animal will form the right attitude to the person. It will be useful to communicate with other animals (other breeds, species). Interspecific socialization will help reduce the level of aggression.
By starting to socialize the puppy in time, its owner will ensure a good future for it. Such a dog will become obedient and manageable, without causing problems and hassle.