More Harm than Good: 3 Reasons Why I Never Socialize my Puppies
An article I think really needs to be shared! Mostly applies to working dogs or competitive sport dogs, since it’s more important for these dogs to really solidify engagement and focus on the handler, but totally can apply to pet dogs as well!
Also a note in advance is that I actually consider her version of “socialization” still socialization- socialization without forcing the puppy into fearful situations where there is any risk of trauma, slipping up, puppy getting a little frightened, when the puppy is going through their fear period. Not all puppies go through fear periods, some more extreme and some quite mild, but it’s something to be aware of.
It also doesn’t mean keep your puppies in your house forever, of course not. (I guess semantics on the word “socialization” again) Bring your puppy out to many places with sights and sounds, but instead of forcing your puppy to engage in OTHERS and be potentially overwhelmed by these situations, have the puppy work on focus and engagement exercises with YOU… so the rest of the world becomes uninteresting background noise that doesn’t need to be bothered with, and YOU are always going to be the most interesting and the most fun.
You’ll end up with a confident, handler-focused dog, that will be totally comfortable around new things anyway, because that foundation has been built.
(this part not mentioned in the article) So let’s pretend we do socialization the normal way that every pet dog owner knows about: having your puppy meet everything and everyone as much as possible every day. Your puppy is meeting factors that are out of your control, and thus the potential for something to go wrong is just there waiting. Imagine a slightly nervous puppy going through his fear period, 6 months old, and you do the whole “giving a stranger a treat to feed your puppy”… So you ask the stranger to feed your puppy, your puppy cautiously goes up to the stranger to check it out. Stranger feeds the puppy. Puppy seems fine, so stranger suddenly goes…. “OHHHH WHAT A CUTE PUPPY!!!” or does something similar that your puppy found just terrifying. Puppy FREAKS out and you have a negative experience right there during a critical time in a puppy life. Where this would not happen if you guys use this trainer’s form of socialization- all you guys focused on was you (the handler), puppy, engagement and focus games… Treats and toys with you and only you, and the rest of the world is background noise.
And on the flipside, using the common socialization method stated above with a very outgoing and social puppy… he will end up deciding that the rewards of chasing after a cat/bird/squirrel, the rewards of lunging at people to play with them when he is 60 lbs, the rewards of lunging at dogs on the street with a desire to play with them, are MUCH more interesting and rewarding to him than you are! <– the result of many happy dogs
Another note is that genetics play a HUGE role on the temperament of a dog, not just training. So this article is for the most part regarding dogs with at least decent breeding backing them up in terms of environmental/social stability and confidence to begin with.
with the weather getting warmer I wanted to address something that a lot of people don’t know. if you have a german shepherd, husky, pomeranian, corgi, collie or any breed with a double coat, DO NOT SHAVE THEM DOWN
so many people shave their double coated dogs thinking it will keep them cool in the summer but this couldn’t be more wrong!!! the undercoat actually helps keep them cool!!! by shaving them down you are actually doing more harm than good. without the protection of the undercut, your dog can easily become sunburned and will feel the heat much more than they would with the undercoat. shaving them removes their ability to cool themselves down
so in conclusion, PLEASE DONT SHAVE YOUR DOUBLE COATED DOGS