Trainers continually mention the importance of socializing your puppy at a young age. It’s consistently suggested that at each life stage you’re introducing your puppy to new dogs and people so that when adulthood arrives your dog is well-rounded and a model citizen. Dogs, just like human beings, go through several developmental stages on their way to maturity. There are fear periods, rebellious stages, and other hormonal adjustments that affect their responses during training. During these periods, professionals always promote the right type of socialization for each stage. But what if you did everything right? On the surface this is all true, socialization is a great way to ensure you have a well-exposed dog, however, your dog’s genetics will also influence their temperament as an adult. There are plenty of people with dogs they rescued as puppies, or maybe a pup they got from a neighbor who had a litter, who indicate they’ve done all the necessary socialization but still ended up with a fearful or aggressive dog. This is because it’s not all about nurture. Nature plays a roll in shaping character within dogs just as it does within humans. There’s a reason why reputable breeders are so selective about the temperament of the pair they use and even the temperament of their parents before them. Skittish or aggressive behavior can be passed along genetically and regardless of your efforts to socialize your precious companion, issues may still arise.
Though this information may seem daunting, don’t fret, even in dogs whose temperament is genetically compromised proper socialization can still yield a dog with better adult characteristics. For instance, a dog that may be geared toward being more socially fearful can still benefit from confidence exercises and proper introductions when they’re young. Also, if you catch some of these behavioral nuances early, the right methodology can be applied to help steer your pup on the right path. The extra work and time has to be invested, however, and those dogs may require additional management in adulthood.
Keep in mind that even when you follow the guidebook on proper puppy socialization, that may not be the deciding factor when it comes the temperament of your adult dog. Parentage is also going to have a significant effect and whether those parents also possessed undesirable traits. Here at Applause Your Paws, regardless of what you need help with in terms of training and socialization, we have a program that can get you and your canine companion on the right track.