What is socialization and why is it important?
Socialization is the process of learning about the world, and building associations, through direct exposure. Dogs go through a particularly sensitive socialization period from the age of about 3 weeks to about 3-4 months of age. Dr. Sophia Yin describes puppies going through this phase as being "primed for bonding to other animals and individuals, for learning that objects, people, and environments are safe, and for learning what the body cues and signals of others mean" - article here. Through socialization, you are helping your puppy build positive associations with all the sights, sounds, smells, objects, animals and people they will encounter throughout their life. You are setting them up to be calm, curious and confident as adults. A poorly socialized dog is a risk to others and to themselves. The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behaviour states that: Incomplete or improper socialization during [the socialization period mentioned above] can increase the risk of behavioural problems later in life including fear, avoidance, and/or aggression...Behavioural issues, not infectious diseases, are the number one cause of death for dogs under three years of age.
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