Socialization: Canine professionals mention this all the time, but what exactly does it mean? For the most part, socialization refers to the calculated way in which we expose dogs to new sights, sounds, environments, and creatures. The most common age for socialization is when puppy owners bring their new puppy home: 8 to 16 weeks.
But what happens when a dog is older than 16 weeks? Socialization remains an important factor in raising a dog the entire lives. Even if the golden window has closed, you can still expose your dog to new (or old) situations and help them learn to cope with stress or over excitement.
When it comes to young dogs (under one year), some of the most important skills for them to learn is confidence, appropriate play, and the ability to be calm in many settings. By giving young dogs the chance to play with other dogs close in age, with direct supervision, they can learn how to engage in safe, fun play that doesn’t result in a misunderstanding or a fight. This structured play is also a great time to learn how to be calm when there are many exciting things happening around them.
Remember that socialization isn't about your dog interacting or playing with everything in sight. It’s about giving your dog the tools to cope with whatever new or scary things come their way.
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