The Importance of Early Puppy Socialization
Doggie Playland recently received a copy of the Ontario Veterinary College magazine called “Best Friends”. In it, there is an article titled “Pawsitive Beginnings” which is all about the importance of socializing your puppy from a young age.
As a dog trainer here at Doggie Playland, I was very happy to see this article because I have a lot of clients who hold off on training, socializing and sometimes even walking their puppy until they receive their third round of vaccines, which is normally done at around 4 months of age.
They do this usually at the reccomendation of their vet. Sadly by 4 months of age, they have already missed the critical stage for socializing a puppy.
As stated in the article and as most dog trainers will tell you, early socialization (between the age of 4 to 16 weeks) is critical for the proper development of a puppy. When you bring your puppy home at 8 or 9 weeks, you should begin this process immediately. You should not only introduce your new puppy to other dogs but also to different people, places, noises and new environments. You must of course take care to only give your puppy a positive experience which means obviously staying away from dogs that may be aggressive towards puppies and teaching children how to behave around the puppy as well.
Poor socialization can sometimes lead to fear or aggression in some dogs. This eventually leads to more work for the owner or in the worst case scenario, having to give up the dog. The OVC article states that “a recent study from OVC found that puppies who attended puppy classes at less than 20 weeks if age were less likely to develop negative behaviour patterns.”
I see the results of poor socialization quite a lot in my job and I am extremely happy to read this article from an accredited vet college promoting and encouraging early socilization.
You can find the complete article in the Spring/Summer issue of Best Friends magazine or online at https://ovc.uoguelph.ca/pettrust/best-friends
*quotes taken from “Pawsitive Beginnings: Starting your puppy off on the right paw”