Dog Socialization Problems
Dog socialization can be tricky. There are many misconceptions about what it means for a dog to be correctly socialized. In fact, even professional dog trainers sometimes disagree on the minutia.
Our approach to dog training and correct socialization is derived from our working dog background. Dogs in our niches are expected to be comfortable with other dogs and people. However, they also must be controlled and respectful when approaching either. Additionally, they are taught that every other human and dog is not a guaranteed social interaction.
Additionally, socialization training should include work in three areas:
- Appropriate Dog-Human Interaction
- Appropriate Dog-Dog Interaction
- Adequate Environmental Exposure
If any of these areas are neglected or improperly trained, behavior problems can arise. Therefore, it is always optimal to work on dog socialization correctly the first time. However, if your dog has been incorrectly socialized, the dog trainers at FetchMasters in Denver, Colorado, can help.
Our approach to dog socialization arises from of our working dog background. Therefore our dogs learn to be both be comfortable and controlled in their interactions — or in the absence of interaction. As such, they excel in both pet dog and working dog capacities.
Incorrect dog socialization usually takes two forms: under-socialization and over-socialization.
Inadequate Dog Socialization
When a dog is under-socialized, its tendency is to feel fear towards other dogs, people or elements of its environment. Just like you do not like living in fear, neither does your dog.
Some behavior problems that arise from fear / under-socialization are:
- Leash aggression
- Barking incessantly at people entering the home
- Aggression when approached incorrectly or cornered
- Cowering or fear-based urination
While dogs have windows of socialization in their developmental process, there are training methods (various types of desensitization and counter-conditioning) that can help older, under-socialized dogs become more comfortable around people, dogs and their own environment.
Too Much Dog Socialization
While over-socialized dogs are less likely to display aggressive behaviors, they often come with their own problematic behaviors.
Often over-socialized dogs get frustrated when they are unable to greet other dogs or people. This can result in:
- A severe lack of impulse control
- Leash reactivity
- Barrier frustration
- Frantic barking at the sight of other people or dogs
- In rare cases, it can spawn aggressive behavior towards both dogs and people
- Severe leash pulling
- Jumping on people
- Pulling directly into the faces of other dogs, which can lead to fights
For over-socialized dogs, our training protocols focus on re-defining your dog’s understanding of what is acceptable behavior in the presence of other dogs and people. Combined with obedience and impulse control work, we will help your dog to be a more polite and appropriate member of society.
A Correct Approach to Dog Socialization
At FetchMasters, our approach to socialization is designed to create balance. You want a dog that is capable of enjoying other dogs, people and the environment. However, you also want your dog to have a respectful, controlled approach to those things, as well as an understanding that he does not always get to interact.
Sometimes we do dedicated work to help improve a dog’s socialization. However, we sometimes build our socialization protocols into our obedience training programs.