Puppy socialization: what does it consist of? And why is the puppy socialized?
Ekaterina Kastritskaya, psychologist, specialist in animal therapy, consultant on animal behavior and well-being
The socialization of a puppy, in simple terms, is his acquaintance with the outside world in all its diversity.Socialization it is necessary that the dog calmly perceive the most diverse environmental stimuli, does not show cowardice or aggression, and with it it is possible to appear in any places without fear that the pet’s behavior will cover us with indelible shame.
The timing of a dog’s socialization depends on the breed. In representatives of many breeds, the period of socialization ends in 3-4 months. Therefore, it is extremely important not to lose time and as soon as possible begin to introduce the puppy to a variety of environmental stimuli.
What does socialization of a puppy consist of?
- Acquaintance with different people. The dog should calmly relate to people of any age, gender, ethnicity, as well as to different styles of clothing. It is especially important to train a dog for people who may look or move differently from most people: older people, children, including very young people, people with special needs, hat lovers, cyclists, skateboarders, runners, soccer players and so on. It is necessary to encourage a puppy when he ignores “strange” people and does not seek to interact with them.
- Animals the most different types and ages.In particular, adult dogs of different sizes, colors and breeds, cats (if they are not afraid of dogs and communicating with them is safe), puppies, horses, sheep, cows, birds, small domestic animals (rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, chinchillas, etc. .p.) and any other animals that may meet the puppy on the path of life. In some cases, it is necessary to encourage the puppy for proper communication with animals (for example, with other dogs), and in others - to reinforce a calm and indifferent attitude. It all depends on what kind of behavior you expect from a four-legged friend in the future.
- Various places. These are a variety of premises, a garden, a car, quiet and noisy streets, schools, cafes, train stations, trains, bus stops, veterinarians, farms, stables and other places in which, as you think, your dog can find himself throughout life. In such places it is necessary to play with the puppy and treat him to the most delicious treats, so that he will form positive associations with such an environment, and he has learned to perceive them as something ordinary, and not terrible. It’s also worth introducing the puppy to various subjectsfor example, a vacuum cleaner, a washing machine, a coffee maker and encourage the pet for a calm and indifferent attitude towards them.
- An important part of socialization is keeping your puppy calm to be alone. The dog is taught to loneliness gradually, so as not to injure and not scare. For the first time, be sure to leave the puppy with entertainment - for example, lunch or special toys with goodies.
- Varied sounds. Even special CDs with “frightening sounds” are produced (for example, fireworks or noisy street sounds at rush hour), and some breeders use them to teach the puppy that such sounds do not pose a threat. You can continue this training. It is important to start with quiet sounds and ensure that the puppy remains relaxed and calm. You do not have the task to scare him, quite the opposite.
- Accustoming to touch. Encourage your puppy to respond calmly and relaxed to touch - yours and other family members, including children. Also train your puppy in hygiene procedures, for example, washing, combing, trimming, cutting, cleaning eyes and ears, cutting claws, etc. Do not skimp on encouragement if the pet is calm. Pay attention to the signals of discomfort and finish before the puppy starts to get nervous and break out. Remember that such training sessions at first should not exceed a couple of seconds, and only then the time gradually increases.
- Training right games. Puppies love to try everything on the tooth and play, so it’s completely normal for them to bite in games. Your task is to teach the baby to measure the strength of the bite. If he bites you too hard in the heat of the moment, strictly say “No!” and stop the game right there. You can squeak or squeak, showing that it hurts you. But in no case do not beat the puppy and do not yell at him - he did nothing wrong. Encourage games with toys and don’t “discourage” the puppy when he plays with your hands, do not allow overexcitation.
- Teach your puppy what it’s not necessary to protect a resource (for example, food or toys). The kid should calmly perceive that the person is near his bowl or objects dear to his heart, and understand that people do not need to compete. Power methods do not work here - the dog should trust the owner, and not be afraid of him. There are humane and enjoyable ways for everyone to teach little greed to share.
- Puppy socialization also includes ability to relax in your presence. There are special relaxation protocols that help teach your dog to “exhale” and relax when you want it. This is a useful skill that will help you quickly calm a dog under stress and avoid panic if it suddenly encounters something that is hard to bear.
If you think that you have problems with the socialization of the puppy, you can seek advice and help from specialists who work with humane methods and can help with the socialization of your pet.