Three cheers for the awesome Village Vets James Carroll and Anthony Bennett
Over the weekend I attended the Gold Coast Dog and Animal Expo and as soon as I walked in I checked out the Village Vets talk on socialization. The talk was fantastic and is exactly what I present at seminars, and been presented by vets made their talk so much better.
They spoke about the high importance of socializing a puppy before 16 weeks of age and to take the pup everywhere and avoid high disease risk areas. This is the first time I have ever heard this information coming from a vet so I was blown away.
To put this into perspective lack of or no socialization during the critical period is the biggest cause of multiple behavior problems including anxiety, animal and human aggression. The owner will lock the puppy up in the back yard and house until 16 to 20 weeks of age until the pup is given the final vaccinations.
So you may be asking what does this have to do with vets? Well over the years with evaluating and training thousands of dogs that were unsocialized during the critical period I ask the owner the question “Why did you isolate the pup and who told you to do that? And in an incredible 9 out of 10 cases they say “I kept the pup away until he had all his needles and the Vet told me to do this.
So let's have a look at a list of problems that is caused by dogs that have had no socialization during the critical period, and it will vary from dog to dog and with breed characteristics. As an example a hard character dog with no socialization may develop aggression based in fear but a soft character dog may develop submission.
So the dog starts off becoming dependent on the owner and becomes a second shadow, chews everything with the owners odor on in and is always licking or sticking his nose in your armpit or backside. The dog develops separation anxiety and starts chewing through stress and barking.
The dog has a high level of paranoia of anything on the other side of the fence so develops a high suspicion level and barks at anything that moves.
The dog feels threatened by other dogs and people so it becomes over protective of the owner and develops animal and/or human aggression. When the dog goes for a walk he is high anxiety, sniffing frantically, reactive to other dogs and ignores your commands.
As the dog gets older his confidence is better as he has a few wins aggressing people or other dogs. The dog will still have a strong suspicion so he appears to have high defensive aggression behind the fence with the hair on his back up.
The above is only some of the many behavior problems that are directly caused by no socialization during the critical period and there are many more.
If the breeders and vets around Australia all provided the great information that the Village Vets provided we will see a massive drop in aggression based problems, barking complaints and anxiety problems in one generation.
Imagine the difference if the new puppy owner was told to heavily socialize the pup to many new environments before he turns 16 weeks of age but avoid high risk areas. More information on raising your pup is available in my new book “How to select and Raise your Ultimate Dog. Subscribe now and celebrate 30 years of dog training www.gazjackson.com