New puppy owner’s may be unaware of the importance of Puppy Socialization Class. Puppies have a “Critical Period” in which they should be exposed to a variety of environments, noises, smells, strangers and, of course, friendly dogs. Without this process the puppy will grow up to be limited to where he can go and who he can be around.
Inadequate socialization with new stimuli does not only make the dogs life much less enjoyable, as confinement to the home or yard is boring and incredibly frustrating. Dogs who are poorly socialized also make life much more difficult for their owner.
Maizy, a foster scottie, was highly territorial and fearful of dogs. She learned to meet and greet appropriately and made several friends while she was with me. The approach used was called BAT, or Behavior Adjustment Training, which is a slow process of helping a dog obtain much needed information from a new dog in a way the dog can process it comfortably.
With BAT, older dogs can be socialized. But, keep in mind, it is a much slower process and becomes frustrating for many owners as you need to go at the dogs pace.
So, please set yourself and your new puppy up for success and join a Socialization Class by a Certified Pet Dog Trainer (CPDT). I recommend one where you stay in class with your puppy, and learn what play is appropriate and what is considered too much for your pup. The AKC S.T.A.R. puppy class is a great way to get your pup started on being a canine good citizen and avoid aggression and other unwanted behaviors. I think we can all agree, that a trained, social dog makes a wonderful family pet, and unsocialized dogs that exhibit fear and aggression are often given up or euthanized — a result that really could be prevented with proper socialization as a puppy.