Dog trainers like me forget that we sometimes speak our own language. Last week, after I kept repeating that her puppy needed socialization urgently; my guest asked what that meant. My bad. Not everyone knows our language. When I searched my usual resources to find a sufficient definition, it wasn’t easy to find. Everyone expects you to already know. So, thanks for the great question.
Dr. Ian Dunbar, the founder of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers defines it as, “Socialization is the process of becoming familiar with all kinds of animals, people, places, and things; as well as learning how to behave in society.”
People want their dogs to feel safe and comfortable in all of the situations that they encounter in the future. Dogs should be happy to explore new places, meet new people, and meet new dog friends. There should be no fear associated with these encounters.
Socialization is one of the most urgent priorities of puppy owners because there is a window of time where puppies are most accepting of this process, which is between 8 – 16 weeks old. Basically we expose puppies to new people, places, and things at an intensity where the pup is comfortable. We also pair the experience with delightful things like toys, play, and food. Dr. Dunbar has written many books and articles on the subject.
For more information on how to socialize your puppy, contact us at Sit, Stay, ‘N Play. We are located at 1501 North 5th Street, Stroudsburg. 570.872.9748 or online at: www.sitstaynplay.net.