Socialization


"The worst thing a new Skye owner can do is to take his wonderful puppy (whom you, as a breeder, have spent countless hours socializing) home to be enjoyed by only the members of his household... The owner needs to understand that denying his Skye these changing environments will diminish the dog's view of its world. The Skye will soon forget all the breeder's hard work, and when we next see the dog, it will be standoffish and will not want to be anywhere except in its own backyard...

"Make the wide world familiary to them! Show them.. new people and places... The greatest gift you can give yourself, your Skye, your breeder, and your community is a well-socialized Skye" (Weber, Laura. "Skye Terriers." Breed Column. AKC Gazette, August 2003, 73).


"Dogs need ongoing socialization throughout their lives... Ply him with treats when he meets new people...

"..your goal is to condition your dog to love being touched, not just submit to or tolerate it...

Paws, for instance.. "Start your paw desensitization exercise by touching him just above the elbow, then feeding him a tidbit of chicken.

"Repeat this exercise until your touch above his elbow causes him to look happily fo you for chicken... move down a half inch... Continue this until you can touch his paw and get the happy "Chicken!" response. Remember that your challenge is to go slowly enough that you never evoke a strong negative response from him" (Miller, Pat. "Handle With Care." Your Dog, Feb. 2004: 8-11).


"..the key to successful socialization is in the timing.. the puppy's brain is at the developmental stage; he is primed to learn to accept new experiences. This occurs between the ages of 4 and 12 weeks.

"In fact, this perios is often referred to as the socialization period (although some experts assert it begins later, at 7 weeks)...

"Within the socialization window is what some experts call "the fear period," around 8 to 10 or 11 weeks of age, when puppies can react strongly to new things and make deep associations with certain people and situations. Proceed carefully...

"Coming up with people and places for socialization opportunities can require creativity, but the "how" is simple. Use treats and a lot of praise, touch, and gentle play to convince your puppy that the new site, smell, person, or situation is fun. End each introduction on a positive note, perhaps with a treat, affection, or short play session with a favorite toy...

"Puppy socialization classes are a wonderful place for your puppy to learn about other dogs...

"Socialization does not stop at a certain age. It is a continual process... you must continually exercise and socialize a dog throughout their lifetime" (Katie Matola. "The ABCs of Socialization." Dog Fancy, April 2004: 40-44).


Colby Glass, MLIS