|· Socialization defined
· The importance of socialization
· Identifying opportunities for socialization
· What to do with an undersocialized pup
Just like human children, puppies need social interaction from
a very early age. Puppies that aren't introduced to people, other
dogs, and other animals early develop all sorts of problems later
in life. Your puppy needs you, certainly, but he also needs you
to introduce him to the world.
What Is Puppy Socialization?
When a puppy comes into the world, he is surrounded by a very
few creatures-his mother, littermates, breeder, and the breeder's
family. Studies show that the personality and behavior of a mature
dog will be affected strongly by his interactions with this small
group of beings during his first 12 weeks of life.
The behavior of a young puppy of 8 to 12 weeks of age is largely
the product of genetics and how the breeder has managed his activities
and environment. The influence that a puppy's mother, littermates,
and breeder have over his adult disposition cannot be overstated
because that influence forms the roots of the process known as
"socialization" - the development of interactive skills
with members of his own and other species and learning to be
comfortable in different situations and environments. If you
brought your puppy home before 12 weeks' then you and your family
will also play an integral role in socializing your puppy.
Mom and Siblings
The first part of puppy socialization involves being with a pup's
mother and his littermates.
| Mom makes sure that the
puppy is safe and sound, well-fed, clean, and warm. She also
acts as his first disciplinarian, correcting the puppy when he
does something that might endanger him or that annoys her.
From his littermates, the puppy learns how to interact with members
of his own species. If you've ever watched puppies play together,
their games are "designed" to teach them about dominance
and submission, mating behavior, and to stimulate the development
of their senses and physical abilities. Puppies that have no
littermates or that were separated from their littermates too
early typically have difficulty inter