Doggy Daycare in Surrey tells us that like people the personality of a dog is flexible and indeterminate. Dogs can be exuberant or shy; friendly or hostile; fearful or bold; aggressive or passive or some combination of all of the above. These differences in personality may to some extent be determined by genetics or breed however for the most part it is based on how each particular dog has been socialized. Socialization is important to the overall well-being of your dog because it provides them with the opportunity to develop skills they will need to cope with new experiences, therefore reducing your dog’s stress. Exposing your dog to new environments and situations helps them to feel more comfortable when encountering new things, animals, people and places. Socialization is especially important during puppy hood with a critical socialization time between 8 – 12 weeks of age. For example the relationship your dog has with you is based on the time you have had with each other and whether or not it has been positive or negative. The same extends to the relationship your dog is going to have with other living beings, it is based on both the quality and the amount of time they are exposed to those situations.
In Puppy hood it is important that socialization begin at home. Between 8 – 12 weeks puppies will be vulnerable to socializing experiences meaning that contact they have with other living beings could make a life long impression so making sure your puppy is exposed to positive socialization experiences will be all that more important. Unfortunately at this age the outside world can still be a very dangerous place therefore your puppies socialization experiences will be limited to family members, or other family pets you may have. At about 3 months your puppy should be ready to leave the house to start experiencing socialization in other ways. Puppy School is highly recommended by many professionals in the field as it will teach young dogs how to relate to others dogs. The purpose of puppy school is to give your dog a chance to play with other young dogs of varying breeds, so they will learn to view other dogs as friends, not enemies.
Exposing your dog to new experiences and socializing begins early in life however is a continuing process that can never stop. Like people dogs enter different periods of their lives when hostile or fearful behaviour can manifest, even if they have been well socialized at a younger age. Adolescence for example is the first such period. Like teenagers your dog can go through sudden personality changes, becoming wilful and aggressive or anxious and uncertain. Most owners see these personality changes between the ages of 8 months and 2 years. Continued support for your dog with socialization, patience, and reassurance will be crucial for your dog at this point. Whenever possible you should take your dog into public places, like parks, play dates or other social events where they can be exposed to new dogs and people each and every day.