Socializing your dog early will go a long way and it can actually be crucial if you want a dog who is happy and knows how to interact with other dogs.
It has been proven that dogs that have poor social backgrounds (particularly from pet shops and puppy farms) usually grow up to be dogs with long lasting behavioral effects.
This is why early socialization is paramount.
What Is The Optimal Time For Socialization?
Typically the optimal socialization period starts at 3 weeks of age and ends at 12 weeks of age. This is usually the problem for dog owners who adopt a puppy that is for example 10 weeks old, as they have mere days to expose their furry friend to other animals, people, places, noises and activities that affect canine socialization.
If you miss this time frame, it can be rather tricky.
You want your dog to be happy, well-behaved and not lonely throughout his/her life, right? Well, early socialization is key here.
Since dogs are incredibly attentive and sensitive creatures who love to communicate, they must start learning how to make friends while still in their early formative weeks. During the first 12 weeks formative period pups learn how to approach new situations, animals and other people, and they do this with an adventurous and open mind.
This is when they learn about:
- bonding with other dogs
- reading body language
- new places
What Happens If A Puppy Is Poorly Socialized?
Poor socialization can lead to a plethora of behavioral problems later in life. Many cases even end with euthanasia.
Some canines may develop phobias, fears and anxieties and these dogs are usually the ones that were not properly socialized when they were pups. The dogs that didn’t receive proper socialization are often very unhappy, difficult to live with, while no amount of training later in life can compensate for missing out on this critical part of their development.
You can’t teach an old dog new tricks, right?