Training and Care — Tip Of The Week
Excerpt from Our New
Australian Shepherd Lover's Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care
Socializing Your Puppy
Socialization is one of the most important concepts we're going to discuss in this chapter. Getting this right will save you a lot of time and hassle further down the track. If you ignore it, you're setting yourself up for problem behaviors when your dog grows up that may be very difficult to fix. Remember, prevention is always easier than cure.
So what is socialization? This is simply the process of introducing the pup to new people, animals and environments while she's still young, so she gets used to them. This helps prevent fear or aggressive reactions when she encounters these situations as a grown dog.
For example, some dogs get scared and aggressive when small children are around. This is usually because they weren't introduced to small children as a puppy, so they're not sure how to react to this little person.
There's a window for socialization which starts at between 3 to 5 weeks old and ends at 12 to 16 weeks old. Between these time periods, you'll want to introduce your dog to as many different types of people, animals, noises and situations as possible. (Obviously, much of this is up to the breeder as well since you'll usually be picking your puppy up at 8 weeks of age).
If you've already picked up your pup and you suspect the breeder did a poor job of socialization, it's even more important to ensure she gets as many new experiences as possible over the next few weeks.
Socialization works a little bit like the desensitization process we covered in the problem behavior chapter. We're going to slowly introduce the puppy to new things under controlled conditions, making sure she stays as safe and comfortable as possible the whole time.
Next time: Meeting People
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