Socialization is Essential
Behavior is a product of nature and nurture – a mix of genetics and experience. Under-socialized dogs, including the “Covid Dogs” we discussed last month, can exhibit various problems, including:
General fearfulness – These dogs can have crippling anxiety about anything that’s unfamiliar, manifesting in an unwillingness to approach new situations and environments. An under-socialized dog’s world is very small because life outside the front door is frightening and unpredictable.
Reactivity – Not having the coping skills to appropriately respond to stressful scenarios, these dogs react defensively in an effort to maintain a buffer from the “scary” stimulus. They are not mean dogs, just scared dogs.
Nervous with people – If a dog doesn’t have the opportunity to meet friendly strangers at his own pace, he might react fearfully – whether retreating or barking preemptively.
Uncomfortable with dogs – Dogs who aren’t able to meet other dogs of all ages and sizes will be wary of making new canine friends. Without exposure to the language of doggy play, it’s easy for a dog to misconstrue a frisky nip as an invitation to fight.
Hard to handle – An under-socialized dog may hate being handled, making grooming (brushes & combs torture devices!), teeth cleaned, or nails clipped very challenging – if not impossible.
It’s not the quantity of experiences your dog has when developing socialization and communication skills – it’s the quality. The secret to a positive outcome? Don’t push it too fast; start doggy daycare with half-day sessions, then full-day, followed by overnight camp. Allow your pet to adjust to new environments at his own pace. That’s where our IDP (Individual Development Plans) come into play. Call today to begin developing your dog’s socialization skills!
Ms. C’s Bed & Biscuits
2145 Beals Chapel Road
Lenoir City, TN 37772