The term socialization is used many different ways, so it is important to explain what we mean when we use it. Socialization for us is the way in which a one acquires language, knowledge, social skills and a value system. In short, it is a blueprint for how to live.
There are proper and improper ways to socialize our dog, and this is where a majority of my clients have problems. Socialization encompasses many different issues, for example:
Barking incessantly or inappropriately
Urinating and defecating inside
Destructive behaviors, like chewing and digging
Jumping on people
Mouthing people, dogs and things
Running outside without permission
Shy and fearful behaviors
Unruly, controlling behaviors
Most of these behaviors happen because your dog hasn’t had the proper learning experiences in their life. And, contrary to popular belief, taking your dog on walks or to the dog park does not properly socialize your dog. Going to dog park can be great, but it depends on the quality of the other dogs at the park. In example, you would not want to take your child to a psychiatric ward to socialize them. Most children start formal socialization at pre-school.
Another important concept to understand is the difference between socialization and enculturation. Socialization is purposeful and is done formally. Enculturation can happen purposefully or accidentally and happens informally as a result of experience. Which explains why some dogs have good learning experiences at dog parks, while others only seem to get worse and escalate in behavior. This is why Canine Moxy formally socializes new dogs with already trained and socialized dogs, under supervised conditions to ensure we get the results we are seeking while simultaneously preventing them from picking up bad or unwanted behaviors. This technique also makes it less stressful, more interactive and encouraging for the new dog.
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