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  • Jennifer Giesbrecht

What you need to know about socialization

Dog daycare for years has been regarded as the holy grail for dog socialization. Better than dog parks because it’s a more controlled environment with trained professionals overseeing a group of dogs, better because dogs must pass an evaluation to be included in social groups and better because dogs must be up-to-date on vaccinations.



And dog daycare CAN be great for social opportunities and reinforcing good social engagement, manners and building a dog’s confidence, but what dog daycare is NOT good for is what everyone calls “socialization,” unless daycare is an intentional part of a puppy’s socialization program.


But what now??


Yes, it is true. And here’s why…


TRUE socialization for a dog occurs during puppyhood, during that critical sensitive period of the first few months of their lives that establishes what is “normal” and what is not in their life. Socialization is NOT just about being “social” (ie friendly) with other dogs and desiring to play with other dogs.


Socialization is the sum total of building a dog’s confidence and equipping them with the ability to handle new situations, people, dogs, and stimulus with calm and confidence, and this is done during a dog’s early and critical development stages.


Socialization is about positive exposure to the world and and a well-socialized dog is one that accepts new as normal in life and has the foundation to be able to continually accept new situations with confidence as it encounters them throughout its life.


So what a daycare can NOT do for an older dog is “get them socialized” or be a place for them to “be socialized”. And for older dogs who come to us accompanied by a parent’s request for either of the above with a dog that is nervous of, scared of or reactive to dogs or hasn’t had a chance “to be socialized,” what a wellbeing daycare CAN do is assess where that dog currently is with how they feel about new things and react to new things and new people and new environments and then provide a matched program to help build that dog’s confidence to better equip them to handle all the new, and that includes comfort with other dogs and desire to interact.


That process is better called confidence building, restoration and rehabilitation, and those words are key to understanding your dog’s response to things, to what is required to helping your dog, and to the real goal of a wellbeing daycare and its programs.


A wellbeing dog daycare understands a dog’s development, how they learn, and how to restore, truly advocates for a dog’s wellbeing at every stage, and does so while ensuring you know all you need to know and receive the right, true and best information available.


Our wellbeing programs are designed to meet the needs of dogs who are socially confident, for those who need to build confidence, and for those who are reactive to others and need more support beyond confidence.


Check out our programs to see how wellbeing daycare cares those across the social-comfort spectrum.

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