Why do Dogs Need Socialized?
Dogs should be given ample opportunites to socialize
During a dog's puppy hood there is a critical window of opportunity for socialization that is open up until the puppy is 12 weeks old. It is unfortunate that this time coincides with the time that puppies are mostly vulnerable to serious diseases such as Parvo. Indeed, often owners of puppies of this age are told by their veterinarian to keep the puppy away from the outdoor world. However, these puppies at least should be socialized with humans and if possible with other dogs that have been vaccinated and declared free of disease.
People should be invited over the home or in the garden. If the puppy is taken out of its safe environment, care should be taken not to put the puppy down on floors or grounds where other dogs may have frequented. Parvo is a virus that can be found just anywhere, therefore, it is very important to practice extreme caution. The virus is shed in infected dog's feces so it can be easily transported just about anywhere by shoes and even car tires.
The socialization process should be started early by breeders. Breeders start off by touching the puppies often and should expose the puppies to as many people as possible. Special focus should be given to socializing the puppies with children, since children often are the most unpredictable, moving suddenly and with acute voices that often elicits excitement.
Once, the puppy is adopted, it is the owner's responsibility to continue socializing th puppy. While bringing the dog to the vet may seem like a part of socialization, it is not enough. Ideally, the dog should see lots of people on a daily basis and on a positive note. Some dog experts recommend that the dog is socialized to at least 100 people by the time he or she is 12 weeks of age.
Socialization in dogs is particularly important because it helps dogs get accustomed to being around people. Indeed, dogs that are socialized often since puppies are more likely to accept people than a dog left on its own all the day. Socialization issues tend to be seen in particular and to a great extent, in dogs that are chained up all day, with lack of social interaction. Left on their own, these dogs have the potential of becoming asocial, territorial, fearful or even aggressive.
In order to work well, dogs should be socialized to a variety of people. People of different skin color, wearing hats, children, babies, seniors, disabled on wheelchairs, people wearing costumes, people of bikes, Rollerblades, etc. The more the better. If the dog ever appears fearful it is better to not reassure the dog by petting or baby talking as this only confirms to the dog that there is really something to be worried about.
It is fundamental to remember that even though the most crucial part of socializing a dog takes place up to 12 weeks of age, dogs still require constant socialization in order to remain well tempered dogs with confident and friendly personalities
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