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Just like children, most animals go through a series of development stages on their way to becoming adults.

As they grow, it is also important for your pet to develop social skills. These skills help them to respond to a variety of social situations when they become adults.

Not only must pets such as cats and dogs learn how to act around their own species, they also must learn how to interact with other animal species and also with humans.
 

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there is a little bit of me beginning to wonder if this whole over socializing thing was either a big marketing money maker, or it became needed in part due to poor breeding to begin with ? It's just food for thought on my part. It's open for discussion... :)
 

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Once upon time many dogs were free to interact with dogs and people on their own terms in a less urbanised environment. This meant they were able to act naturally when meeting other dogs and people and to develop normal social skills. This still happens amongst village dogs in third world countries where dogs can come and go as they please. I was a child in rural France sixty years ago and remember various family dogs who did not know what a lead was and lived amicably with everybody, human and animal in the village without ever having been 'socialised'. The times were harder too; culling of any rogue animal would have been swift and it would have had no chance to reproduce.

I suspect that nowadays many people are unknowingly putting dogs under a huge amount of stress by ignorant handling and management in unnatural environments, creating problems that would never have arisen in a society where everybody lived in close proximity to domestic animals with less constraints. The environment we provide for our dogs now is far from 'normal' and we have to try and teach them what would have happened naturally otherwise.

I agree some breeding practices may also give rise to dogs more prone to being anti social. Puppy mills and indiscriminate breeding/inbreeding are a big problem in the UK for instance. Ownership of fashionable 'hard' breeds by macho half wits is a common problem in some areas as well. Dogs would unfortunately probably be ok if it was not for human greed and ignorance.
 

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I agree with all the prior post. We also should consider the epidemic of personification of our animals. As more and more couples not having children are on the rise and electing to have pet's instead, we are seeing more and more the treatment of animals as if they are people and even as if they are babies. Everything from daycares, to wardrobes and even being pushed in strollers! Dogs are no longer allowed to be dogs and are expected more and more to act like a human counterpart. In doing this we are creating more and more behavioural issues in dogs. HUMANS are the ones that REALLY need the training, to ensure they are not creating psychosis with their dogs through them just honustly trying to love them.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/canine-corner/201105/do-we-treat-dogs-the-same-way-children-in-our-families

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/all-dogs-go-heaven/201801/understanding-the-roots-dog-behavioral-problems
 

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I agree with all the prior post. We also should consider the epidemic of personification of our animals. As more and more couples not having children are on the rise and electing to have pet's instead, we are seeing more and more the treatment of animals as if they are people and even as if they are babies. Everything from daycares, to wardrobes and even being pushed in strollers! Dogs are no longer allowed to be dogs and are expected more and more to act like a human counterpart. In doing this we are creating more and more behavioural issues in dogs. HUMANS are the ones that REALLY need the training, to ensure they are not creating psychosis with their dogs through them just honustly trying to love them.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/canine-corner/201105/do-we-treat-dogs-the-same-way-children-in-our-families

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/all-dogs-go-heaven/201801/understanding-the-roots-dog-behavioral-problems
You're right - dogs are not people. But we're also learning more and more about the cognitive abilities and emotional capacity of dogs and other animals, and how they are more similar to humans in those regards than previously thought.
 

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there is a little bit of me beginning to wonder if this whole over socializing thing was either a big marketing money maker, or it became needed in part due to poor breeding to begin with ?... <img src="http://www.dogforums.com/images/smilies/smile.png" border="0" alt="" title="Smile" class="inlineimg" />
Trust me when I tell you that puppy socializing is not a gimmick. I have seen the after effects of not socializing early enough. Dogs become reactive, nervous and very vocal!
Make sure to socialize only with friendly pups, but it should be often and lots of variety before 14 weeks of age.
 

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Trust me when I tell you that puppy socializing is not a gimmick. I have seen the after effects of not socializing early enough. Dogs become reactive, nervous and very vocal!
Make sure to socialize only with friendly pups, but it should be often and lots of variety before 14 weeks of age.
I trust your personal experience in the dogs, you will have to understand my personal experience of not directly contact socializing, living isolated in a rural area with no one to the property and it not affecting the out come. Even for breeds that are intolerant suspicious in nature when going off property into the real world.. At my age we didn't have this growing up for our dogs, and they were just fine when they made rabies vaccines mandatory and we all had to grab our never been off the property dogs and head to a clinic at a public school and stand in line with all of them on ropes or chains cause they didn't have collars or leashes. (((( its food for thought )))
 

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I also think there is more to a well balanced dog than socialising. I got my male dog who is now eight years old and not neutered, when he was fifteen weeks old. He had never been off his breeder's property or seen any other dogs than his dam and sire and his siblings. He did have a hard time adjusting for the first few weeks with us but he is now dog neutral, has never been in a fight in spite of extreme provocation, has seen a succession of foster rescue dogs come and go in our home and can be taken into any environment without any worries about his ability to cope. In theory, he should be a reactive , noisy menace. There must be more to it than we know at the moment. I have also kept one of the foster bitches as she was unsuitable for rehoming due to aggression and she has learnt through careful desensitisation to judge accurately the threat potential of any humans she meets nowadays. I believe this has only been possible because her innate temperament is balanced and sound in spite of a far from ideal early life. Re-reading myself I seem to be making the case, from my limited experience, for breeding dogs of sound temperament being the most important factor?
 

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In his courses, Dr. Ian Dunbar talks about the Scott & Fuller research in developmental cycles into the 1960s, and how Dunbar got a puppy in the 1970s, but had know way to expose his puppy to everyday situations. He also observed that adolescent puppies were being released to the pound, and too many were euthanized, because they were reacting badly, fighting with other dogs, biting neighbors, or causing problems during visits to the vet.

Since he could find any puppy classes to help with his own dog, Dunbar created Sirius training classes to introduce socialization and similar skills, based on the foundation research from Scott & Fuller, as well as his own research on dog aggression and biting levels. His older DVD and youtube videos demonstrate clearly what he means by Bite Inhibition and socialization. Sometimes a video may focus on one small aspect without providing the complete picture. But, one thing that Dunbar tries to make clear is that Bite Inhibition and socialization to dogs, people, and experiences should be positive experiences and ongoing lifelong experiences to help a companion dog adapt easily to new situations in a non-aggressive or non-fearful way.
 
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