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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just a question I've been mulling over at the moment now we're coming into winter with shorter days and bad weather.

Sam is 7 months old now and I have always made sure I've socialised him as much as possible and so far so good. I've been incredibly lucky in that he loves everyone he meets and just wants to play with all dogs he meets; in fact our only issue is that he is a bit too enthusiastic however he is slowly getting better with this.

Already though I've noticed a drop in the amount of dogs we see when out and about and as he is bigger now not all dogs want to or are able to play with him although he does have Oscar to play with. I am aware that he is still developing and growing up and that his personality could still change but I am keen for him to retain his friendliness.

So that leads me onto my question how long did you actively socialise your pups for and when did you feel it was safe enough for them not to meet dogs all the time yet still retain their friendliness with others?
 

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Personally I made sure my pups had structured socialisation up to 6 months - then it was a case of when we came across other dogs and situations, I would purposfully walk in busier dog walking areas at least once a week until they were 18 months, but not worry if a week went by and we didn't see anyone suitable to interact with.
I like my dogs to meet and see other dogs, they rarely choose to play but are happy to share a walk, about once a month or so but if we don't see anyone I don't worry to much.
However I will say despite my best efforts Zipper hit 2 and developed an occasional attitude problem that he has maintained to this day (now 5) he will have a 'hand bag' moment with other dogs who he feels aren't behaving as he wants :rolleyes: So perhaps I should of kept up the more structured interactions a lot longer - but I'll never know as Lilly is happy to ignore all dogs and will only retaliate if really pushed by a bad mannered dog and had the same level of socialisation as Zipper.
 

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Of course I am aware that our Dogs differ greatly from the most and, therefore, they have to be treat differently in relation to and in respect of their breed.
Socialisation is an excercise that must continue throughout their lives so that they always remain aware of who and what is not a threat to us or them.

Although I have owned other breeds in my life I have still found it necessary to periodically familiarise them with the world in general, as well as the many different folks who inhabit the place.
 

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For life.

If you learned a language at school, how good are you at it now? ;)

Socialisation is a muscle which, like any other, atrophies without exercise.
As a non dog person (currently) this doesn't quite answer the question for me :eek: Like OP I always wonder out how long you actively socialise at a high level for. Yes, socialisation for life, training for life, it all goes hand in hand with having a dog, but you don't mean you continue to actively socialise a 5 year old the same way you would a 12 week old pup do you? I have sheets printed off of situations, people, dogs, sounds etc to tick off and keep track of who and what the pup has been exposed to... I don't do that for life... do I?!

I suppose with your language analogy, you study intensive at school, but if you want to maintain the skill you have the practice it every once in a while for the rest of your life... But at what point does the 'intensive' socialisation bit gradually swap over to the 'maintaining' part?
 

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Depends what you are socialising them to, or 'habituating' as it really should be called.

Dogs. I don't actively 'socialise' puppies with dogs. Most of them have had 8 weeks socialising with other dogs. I take puppies out with my own adults to teach them good manners around dogs and to listen to their owner despite the temptations, but not until after 12 weeks (see 'humans').

Humans: The window to bond to a second species as if it were your own closes around 12 weeks in dogs, but I encourage a strong bond for the life of the dog. With breeds bred to work with humans this doesn't have to be worked so hard on, so a labrador or a collie, GSD etc this is just like normal every day activities. With hounds and terriers, lots of teaching that humans are the most interesting thing on the walk probably into adulthood at a high level (around 12-18 months), with redoubled efforts at adolescence (starting 6-12 months).

The fear period where novelty can be seen as something to be nervous of begins at 12 weeks, so before then the dog should meet lots of new positive experiences.

Up to 16 weeks I'd still keep working on new things, new people etc, but not at such a high level.

I never 'socialise' a puppy with other puppies.

ETA I haven't addressed 'training' as that's not the same as socialising.
 

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Lucky is 2.5 now and I still try to socialise her as much as possible. I take her to busy places on purpose at least twice a week and will continue to do so :). Saying that, not many dog walkers are out now its colder and darker early :(

Even though she has always been around other strange dogs she still tends to get a little anxious occasionally. This may be in response to the body language of the dog or the fact that she has been the victim of unfriendly dogs in the past.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thank you for the replies. I will of course continue to socialise him and make sure he meets other dogs mainly because he loves it.

I think Alice Childress phrased the question much better than I did :D
 

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We do not stop children from socialising at a certain age, they continue to socialise (which means learning how to communicate with one's own or other species, as oppposed to habituate which means becoming familiar with situations or inanimate objects).

I want my dogs to learn how to read the signals from all sorts of dogs of all sorts of ages and all sorts of breeds.

Thus I ensure that he is exposed to them at appropriate times and frequency.

HTH
 
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