The Pet Professional Guild
The Association for Force-Free Pet Industry Professionals


Position Statement on Puppy Socialization

It is the position of the Pet Professional Guild (PPG) that effective animal training lays the foundation for an animal’s healthy socialization and training and helps prevent behavior problems. The general pet-owning public should be educated by organizations and associations to ensure pet animals live in nurturing and stable environments to better prevent behavior problems. Consistent with this effort, it is the position of the PPG that proper puppy socialization be addressed as vital to a dog’s development with an ideal socialization period starting at four weeks of age and continuing through four months of age. The PPG considers this to be the critical socialization period for dogs. PPG advocates for socialization to accompany puppy vaccinations rather than waiting to socialize a puppy until after the vaccinations are complete by which time the critical socialization period will have been missed. According to the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior – “puppies can start puppy socialization classes as early as 7-8 weeks of age. Puppies should receive a minimum of one set of vac­cines at least 7 days prior to the first class and a first deworming. They should be kept up-to-date on vaccines throughout the class.”

Problems Associated With Improper or Absent Puppy Socialization

The Puppy Socialization Period (4 to 16 weeks) is the most critical period for influencing a dog’s temperament, character, behavior and avoiding problems. Preventing potential problems is far more effective than trying to correct issues when the dog is older. Problems and undesirable behaviors resulting from the lack of proper puppy socialization can be anything from inappropriate barking, chewing, separation anxiety and aggression to general reactivity. Improper or misguided efforts to socialize a puppy can result in a host of fears, predictable and unpredictable. Proper socialization will also greatly increase a dog’s reliability making it easier to handle, train and examine while greatly reducing the risk of a dog biting.

Conclusion

It is the position of the PPG that all puppy socialization be conducted comprehensively and in a manner which encourages the confidence of the puppy and that puppy classes focus on the use of behaviorism with an emphasis on positive reinforcement. Ideally the socialization process should start with early neurological stimulation and end with daily exposure to novel stimuli by raising puppies in homes that provide a busy and intermittently noisy environment with significant variety of interactions that stimulate all 5 senses. Socialization should include gently exposing a puppy to new people and other safe vaccinated healthy dogs on a daily basis with numerous sights, sounds smells and textures (pavement, grass, sand, gravel, etc.) including children of various ages. Puppy Socialization should always be a fun process that is always free of any force.

Recommended Reading

The PPG Puppy Socialization Checklist, read more

The ASPCA article on Socializing Your Puppy, read more

AVSAB Position Statement on Puppy Socialization, read more

Articles

Serpell J, Jagoe JA. Early experience and the development of behaviour. In Serpell J (ed). The Domestic Dog, p.82-102, Cambridge University Press 1995

Freedman DG, King JA, Elliot O. 1961. Critical periods in the social development of the dog. Science, 133, 1016-1017

Miller DM, Stats SR, Partlo BS, et al. Factors associated with the decision to surrender a pet to an animal shelter. J Am Vet Med Assoc 1996;209:738- 742

Duxbury MM, Jackson JA, Line SW, Anderson RK. Evaluation of association between retention in the home and attendance at puppy socialization classes. JAVMA, 223 (1), 2003, 61-66

Eskeland GE, Tillung RH, Bakken M. The effect of punishment, rewards, control and attitude in obedience and problem behaviors in dogs. Proceedings IVBM 2007;103-104.

Hilby EF, Rooney NJ, Bradshaw JWS. Dog training methods: their use, effectiveness and interaction with behaviour and welfare.

Animal Welfare 2004;13: 63-69. Bradshaw JW, McPherson JA, Casey RA, Larter LS. Aetiology of separation-related behavior in domestic dogs. Vet Record 2002;191:43- 46.

 

Connect With Us:
All content copyright 2014. The Pet Professional Guild . All rights reserved. The PPG is a 501 c 6 Non Profit organization
Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software • Web Design & Development by DotCreativity Web Design Services