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SENT WORK - scent discrimination (mostly used for service dogs) but a good exercise for dog to use his most powerful tool, his nose.


For centuries, dogs have been valued for their roles of alarm-sounder and guardian, as well as for their hunting and herding skills. But owners do view all behaviors that their dogs engage as desirable. Sometimes dogs are aggressive, or urinate or defecate in inappropriate places; and sometimes they bark when it is not called for or steal things from the countertops. Long before the days of behavioral psychology, dog owners intuitively knew that rewarding a desired behavior and punishing an unwanted one would eventually encourage a dog to conform more closely to its owner's wishes and expectations. Those simple tenets now constitute the basic premise underlying any form of dog training.

Importance of socialization in dogs

A Brief Explanation On the Importance of Socialization Dog Socialization is important to the overall well-being of your dog because it will provide him with the ability to develop skills to cope with new experiences in a positive way, therefore reducing your dog's stress.

What is Socialization?

Socialization is the process of exposing dogs to new environments and situations. It helps them to feel more comfortable when encountering new things, animals, people and experiences. Socialization is especially important during puppyhood with the first critical socialization time as eight-twelve weeks of age.

Socialized pups are typically happier, friendlier, more predictable and able to handle stress better. Under-socialized pups often grow to become fearful, shy, anxious, and sometimes even fearfully-aggressive adult dogs because they lack the skills to cope with new situations.

Socialization should not end with puppyhood but is more of a lifetime journey. Socialization should not end with puppyhood but is more of a lifetime journey. Though the foundation for your dog's behavior is laid during the first few months, responsible pet owners reinforce social skills and continually expose their dog to new social experiences throughout the dog's entire life

The Importance of Socializing Your Dog

The personality of a dog is flexible and indeterminate. Dogs can be exuberant or shy; friendly or hostile; fearful or bold; aggressive or passive or some combination of the above. These differences in personality may to some extent be determined by breed, or individual genetics, but for the most part it is based on how and to what extent each particular dog has been socialized.

So what is socialization? Simply put, this is the process where a dog learns to relate to people, other dogs and other animals based on direct experience. You are certainly aware that the relationship your dog has with you is based on the exposure you have had to each other, and whether or not it has been positive or negative. This same principle extends to the relationship your dog is going to have with other living beings – it is based on both the quality and quantity of his exposure to those beings. The one difference is that while your relationship with your animal is a specific, one-to-one connection, socialization is more general and category-based. In other words, if your dog learns during the socialization process that strangers or other dogs should be met with trust and openness, then he will learn to treat any strangers or dogs he might encounter in the future with the same kind of positive attitude he learned when he was younger.

Socialization begins at Home

It is important that socialization begin early in life. Between the ages of three and twelve weeks, a puppy will be sensitive to socializing experiences, meaning that any positive contacts he has with other living beings will make an impression that lasts into later life. The one problem, however, is that at this age the outside world is still a dangerous place for a puppy. His immunizations have only just begun, and he is not as resistant to potentially deadly infections as he will be later in life. At this tender age, a puppy should be kept in protected environments, meaning basically your home and perhaps your backyard. So, his socialization at this stage will be limited to contact with those beings that are sharing his living space – you, your other family members, and any other dogs, cats or other pets you might have.

Socialization with humans at this stage is relatively unproblematic. Touch him, pet him, hold him, play with him, speak to him in a soft and friendly voice, make sure any strangers who visit either greet the dog in friendship or stay away completely and you should get the desired result – a dog who is generally trusting and friendly with people. If he is part of a litter then he can learn to socialize with other dogs through his siblings and parent; but of course in most instances a puppy will be separated from the litter relatively early, so this kind of natural socialization may not be possible. If there is a cat or other dog in your home when the puppy arrives, the main thing is to make sure that the introductions to these other animals is a very gradual process, so that they can all get to know each other in a completely non-threatening context.

The Importance of Continuing the Process

Socialization begins early in life, but it is a process that can never stop. Dogs enter certain periods of their lives when hostile or fearful behavior can manifest, even if they have been well socialized before. Adolescence is the first such period; around the age of four and a half months (the beginning of adolescence for most dogs), they can go through sudden personality changes, becoming willful and aggressive – just like human teenagers. This is one reason why puppy school should be started after the age of three months, so that your dog will still be there when he enters adolescence and there is the opportunity for skilled trainers to help him get past his anxiety and uncertainness.

Many dog owners have experienced these kinds of personality changes when their dogs are between the ages of eight months and two years. The important point to realize is that the process of socialization must be ongoing and perpetual. You should take your dog into public places, like parks, where he can be exposed to new dogs and people each and every day if possible. You might even want to arrange play dates with other dog owners to make sure your dog continues to have rewarding and fun contacts with other dogs throughout his life.

If your dog starts reacting with hostility to other animals or humans, it is recommended that food be used to help him change those reactions. Give him treats whenever strange dogs, cats, or people approach or visit, so he comes to associate new acquaintances with the pleasures of food. Pretty soon, he will make a connection in his mind and his hostility in the presence of other living beings will turn to feelings of acceptance and welcome.

Socialization is important because it will determine what kind of personality your dog is going to have. You want him to be welcoming, friendly, and trusting; this means you will have an animal companion who is a pleasure to be around, for everyone in the family. It also means you won’t have to worry about getting sued because your dog has been attacking people or their pets. And most importantly, it is what is best for your dog, because a well-socialized dog is a happy dog, and that is what any dog owner should want most of all.


Puppies need to toilet much more frequently than adult dogs. They have small bladders and no instinct to ‘hold on’. Older dogs usually toilet after waking up, 10-20 minutes after eating, drinking and playing and sometimes after being outside. Don’t assume that your dog will know to toilet while outside unless they have learned to do so.

You may only need to take an adult dog outside twice a day, while a puppy needs to be taken outside every hour to avoid mistakes. Some early warning signs of a need to urinate or defecate are circling and sniffing the ground. It is much easier to pick up when your dog needs to toilet if you are watching closely or your dog is on a lead with you at all times.

Use a lead or tether. One of the best ways to make sure your dog stays with you so you can keep an eye on him is to attach his lead to your belt or tether him to your chair if you are working at home. If your puppy is roaming freely, chances are you won’t see him show those early warning signs of needing to go outside.

Introduce a cue word. To encourage toileting on command it doesn’t take much extra work to introduce a word while your dog is urinating or defecating. So when your dog starts toileting say ‘wee wee’ or whistle (or introduce a hand signal) so that the behaviour is paired with a command. This means on those cold wintery nights, or during toilet breaks on long road trips you have a way to quickly get your dog to urinate/defecate on command.

Select just one spot in the yard for toileting. Trust me, you will thank me for this when the kids break their promise to faithfully always clean up the poo in the yard. Select an area away from the main play area in the yard that will be the toilet spot. This will stop those brown patches on the lawn and make it much easier for the poo patrol.

Reward! In order to motivate your dog, use valuable rewards. While dogs do respond to praise, for toilet training you want to go all out. Use tasty treats and lavish praise and really go over the top. You want to reward within a few seconds of your pet toileting, so they know what they getting all that attention for. The more motivated your pet is, the more likely they will work harder to get there.