From about 3 weeks to 3 months of age, puppies are in their sensitive period for socialization, and (I think) it is the most important socialization period in a dog’s life.
Puppies who do not get adequate socialization during this period are more at risk to be fearful/stressed/nervous/aggressive around unfamiliar people, other dogs, sounds, and objects, and new environments.
Just as we did with Kenzo, we have been actively socializing Vík as much as possible since the day we brought him home.
We are using classical conditioning to socialize our puppy Vík; creating an association between two stimuli. When it comes to introducing him to new objects/people/experiences we want it to be all positive!
The end goal is to let Vík believe his world and all its entities are safe and happy. If Vík is not well-socialized, he may become neophobic, which means fearful of new things.
Today, we worked on the “wait” comman and did balance and coordination exercises with Vík stepping up on & sitting on various wooden boxes. We used Merrick Power Bites— for today’s training session.
I wanted to get Vík comfortable stepping up, standing, and sitting on random surfaces to help strengthen his balance and coordination as he is growing.
I also am introducing him to different scenarios, sounds, and surfaces so that he is unafraid of obstacles and objects we may encounter later in life. My goal with Vík has been to expose him to everything and anything in a positive manner so decrease or minimize fear as he grows older.
My first dog Leo was terrified of walking on manhole-covers and grated surfaces. Now, I know more about puppy socialization, perhaps if I would have consistently exposed Leo to different surfaces when he was younger, it might have decreased or eliminated his fear of walking on uneven surfaces as an adult. I always took him on walks in my parents’ neighborhood in the suburbs so man-holes weren’t very prevalent and it never crossed my mind that it would be an issue once we moved to the city.
Do you have a puppy?! In what ways are you socializing him or her? Training your doggy? You can read more about the high-quality treats we use for training HERE.