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SOCIALIZATION

WHAT IS SOCIALIZATION? Socialization is the process of learning to accept and feel confident in a wide variety of situations, with a wide variety of people and animals. Statistics show that more dogs are surrendered to shelters for behaviors associated with lack of socialization than for any other reason. Statistics also tells us that more dogs will lose their lives (i.e. be euthanized) due to lack of socialization than to any disease known to afflict canines. Beyond these statistics, lack of socialization can leave a dog with multiple fears and insecurities, often leading to aggression. A well socialized dog enjoys life to the fullest since he is comfortable in almost all situations. I have often wondered why domestic canines are so much more prone to social ineptitude, lack of confidence and fear aggression. A seminar by the renowned psychologist and dog trainer Stanley Coren answered this question for me. Dr. Coren pointed out that socialization for wild canines such as coyotes and wolves is far less challenging than it is for our domestic dogs. Wild canines grow up in an environment that is fairly stable and they are helped greatly by the guidance of older canines throughout their lives. Life is very different for domestic dogs because they are taken from their litter at a very young age and thrust into a human environment that is astoundingly varied and stressful. Puppies are born with a wide open window of opportunity to be socialized. When young, dogs quickly and easily learn to accept handling, noises, changes in their environment and low-level stresses. It is your responsibility to introduce your dog to a wide variety of people, dogs (dogs that are known to have good health and an updated shot record) and environments. Older dogs that did not get the benefit of socialization when young can still play catch-up. However, the process is slower and more difficult since an older dog is no longer a “blank slate” but rather, has learned many fears due to the lack of exposure to life. GETTING ORGANIZED FOR SUCCESSFUL SOCIALIZATION The list below can help to get your socialization efforts organized. Over the next few months you should strive to check off as many different categories as possible. DO NOT force your dog into a challenge that is too scary for him to handle. Instead, allow him to investigate at his own pace and reward him for his bravery. Once you have identified categories that your dog has difficulty with, begin exposing your dog to those things on a regular basis. Adding tasty treats to these situations whether new puppy or older dog can speed up the process for you. Think of it this way – after many positive exposures, with tasty treats added in, a scary person, place or thing actually begins to seem pretty positive.


SOCIALIZATION CHART Expose your puppy to each challenge at least once during all 5 periods of life. If you have an adult dog, expose him to each challenge multiple times. Please put a  in the box beside a successful socialization experience. Put a  in the box beside a socialization experience that still needs work. Page 1

SOCIALIZATION CHALLENGE

7–9 weeks

10–12 weeks

3–5 months

6–8 months

PEOPLE - MEN

Young (18 – 30) Middle Aged Elderly Very Tall Large Men Men With Hats Loud, Confident Men Shy, Unsure Men Men w/ Beards, Moustaches Men With Helmets PEOPLE - WOMEN

Young (18 – 30) Middle Aged Elderly Women With Babies Women With Hats Loud, Confident Women Shy, Unsure Women Women Pushing Strollers Women w/ Large Purses Women w/ Packages MISC

Delivery People Mail Carriers Disabled People Joggers People in Uniforms Bicyclists w/ Canes. Umbrellas, etc. Julie Winkelman CDT, Alpha Canine Academy LLC, © 2009

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9 – 12 months


SOCIALIZATION CHART Expose your puppy to each challenge at least once during all 5 periods of life. If you have an adult dog, expose him to each challenge multiple times. Please put a  in the box beside a successful socialization experience. Put a  in the box beside a socialization experience that still needs work. Page 2

SOCIALIZATION CHALLENGE

7–9 weeks

10–12 weeks

3–5 months

6–8 months

MISC CONTINUED

People with Disabilities People with Backpacks Rollerbladers Crowds of People Different Ethnicities Skateboarders People in Wheelchairs PEOPLE - CHILDREN

Infants on Parents Lap Toddlers Babies in Strollers Crying Babies Kids Running Kids Playing Kids Yelling Teenagers Soccer/Baseball Games Observe Recess at School DOGS – Safe, Healthy

Other Family Dogs Doggie Day Care 5 Different Large Breeds 5 Different Small Breeds Male Dogs Female Dogs Calm/Sedate Dogs Playful/Hyper Dogs Dogs on Leash Dogs Off Leash Julie Winkelman CDT, Alpha Canine Academy LLC, © 2009

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9 – 12 months


SOCIALIZATION CHART Expose your puppy to each challenge at least once during all 5 periods of life. If you have an adult dog, expose him to each challenge multiple times. Please put a  in the box beside a successful socialization experience. Put a  in the box beside a socialization experience that still needs work. Page 3

SOCIALIZATION CHALLENGE

7–9 weeks

10–12 weeks

3–5 months

6–8 months

ANIMALS

Cats – (Control the Dog) Horses Chickens/Cows/Sm. Animals HANDLING

Checking Teeth Clipping Nails Hold Collar Examine Ears/Eyes Hold/Examine Paws Gently Pull Tail Wipe Eye “Boogers” Brushing Hugging (Go Slowly) Gently Pick Up and Hold SOUNDS / NOISES

Traffic Buzzers-Dryer,Microwave Loud music Doorbell Construction Noises Blender/Mixer/Coffee Grinder Vacuum Dust Buster Drill/Hammer/Saw Hair Dryer Crowd Sounds Motorcycles Busy Street Children Playing Julie Winkelman CDT, Alpha Canine Academy LLC, © 2009

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9 – 12 months


SOCIALIZATION CHART Expose your puppy to each challenge at least once during all 5 periods of life. If you have an adult dog, expose him to each challenge multiple times. Please put a  in the box beside a successful socialization experience. Put a  in the box beside a socialization experience that still needs work. Page 4

SOCIALIZATION CHALLENGE

7–9 weeks

10–12 weeks

3–5 months

6–8 months

VERY SCARY SOUNDS Slowly desensitize to these

Thunder Gunshots Fireworks PLACES / THINGS

Sports Events Boarding kennel Outdoor Restaurant Slippery Floors Vet’s Office Groomer Friends Houses Stores/Banks/Pet Supply Parks Bridge over the Animas Outdoor School Events Car Wash Boat Ride Busy Streets in Town Craft Fairs/Town Events Swim in the River Jump onto Boulders Run Along with Bike Cars Pulling into Driveway Statues/Carvings Scooters/Tricycles Jump onto Pic Nic Table Watch Crowds Hiking Trails Riding in the Car Julie Winkelman CDT, Alpha Canine Academy LLC, © 2009

I encourage you to share this handout!

9 – 12 months


Puppy Socialization