Do you know how your dog will react to a hyper pup in the local dog park? Or when they encounter a rambunctious child? Their reaction towards new experiences depends on how well they have been socialized.
Let’s go back to the basics real quick. The dictionary definition of socialization is “a continuing process where an individual acquires a personal identity and learns the norms, values, behavior and social skills appropriate to his or her social position.” Dogs, like humans, aren’t born with the intrinsic knowledge of how the world works, and must learn how to act and react with their environment.
Odds are, you have already met a dog that has not been socialized well. They are the ones that go berserk when the mailman comes by; the ones that bark, growl, or cower when they encounter another dog on their walk, or panic at the vet’s office.
Well-socialized dogs are mild mannered when faced with exciting stimuluses. They don’t mind getting touched and handled by strangers, and can go anywhere without you having to worry. They are confident and don’t feel threatened in the face of new dogs and people. They are the well behaved ones, the good boys, and girls.
The AKC website says dogs go through a socialization period between the ages of seven weeks to four months.This period of time will determine how they react to things in the environment as an adult. If your puppy has not been properly socialized during this time, do not fear. According to dog trainer Justin Silver, socialization is “an ongoing process of conditioning and desensitization.”The key word is “ongoing”. Older dogs past the optimal window of opportunity can still be socialized through exposure and encouragement.
Dog parks are great for socializing
Dog parks are a great way for pups to meet other dogs, and exercise some of their social skills. Use the Park Bark app to easily find dog parks near you. So grab your pup and get to socializing.
Don’t think your dog is ready for a dog park? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. We’ll show you how to get your dog ready for the park next time.