Ask the Trainer

Ask the Trainer: Dog Socialization Checklist

Golden retriever puppy

Golden retriever puppy

Most people are concerned about things that happen to dogs. They worry about neglect, abuse, and improper use of training tools. Obviously bad things do happen, which is terrible and inexcusable. However in my experience, more harm is caused from what is NOT done to dogs.

Every week I meet dogs that lack proper socialization as a puppy and are now fearful. I come across dogs that did not receive proper training, which is causing destruction or displays of aggression. Dogs who cower when petted, as if they were abused, but instead just lack socialization. I see dogs who bark and growl at men, because of insufficient positive interactions.

Most of the dog training problems I see, stem from what has NOT been done. Rather than inappropriate actions from what has been done. This is why proper socialization at an early age is essential! Dog training is a process. So wherever you are in this process, you can make positive changes with your dog.

Frequent socialization is a necessity. That’s why the Puppy Socialization Checklist is essential. It’s comprehensive in nature, yet realistic for most owners’ lifestyles. The key is to properly and safely socialize your puppy to a variety of items, as often as you can.

Check off and note your puppy’s reaction to each of these stimuli. In doing so, you can clearly see the progress you and your dog are making. Positive conditioning, counterconditioning, desensitizing, using treats, pet, and praise are staples when socializing a puppy or adult dog. If you are considering socializing an adult dog, make sure to consult with a qualified professional and make safety your first priority.  

Remember… no decision is a decision, and no action is an action. What you don’t do with your dog carries a great impact. Regardless of what you have done (or not done), take action today to DO what’s right for your dog. Consider using the Puppy Socialization Checklist with your puppy today.

 

Steve Reid is a Professional Dog Trainer and owner of S.R. Dog Training. Specializing in at-home dog training in Westchester, NY. For more information about S. R. Dog Training, visit www.srdogtraining.com and become a fan of Steve on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/SRDogTraining.

 

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