Socialization

Socialization has the purpose of social functioning within a group. The dog must know what is allowed, possible and necessary within his pack. In nature this is very important, because the survival of the pack and species depends on it. Everything revolves around the group/collective and the individual is subordinate to it. The Saarloos wolfdog has been given a strong hereditary disposition for this. This disposition must be used to the best of one's ability to have a socially functioning pack/family member. The content of this disposition is determined in the first weeks of his life.

After a dog is born, it goes through several phases/periods until adulthood. Just like we humans also go through certain periods until we become adults. Children go to school at a certain age to learn math, language and so on. It has been scientifically proven that there are certain periods in a person's life in which we are extra sensitive to certain learning processes. By taking advantage of these periods a child develops more easily and completely. Research has shown that this also applies to dogs.

It is therefore important for breeders and owners to recognize and understand these phases/periods. The first phases most people recognize, but the subsequent ones usually do not.

PHASE 1: NEONATAL PHASE


This starts when the puppy is born and lasts until about 12 to 14 days.
For the puppy there are only two things important, eating and sleeping.
It cannot yet regulate its body temperature by itself. If future owners have already been found, there is now an opportunity to work with scents and to put them in the nest, for example, a handkerchief with the scent of the future owner on it.

This is an ideal phase to grab the puppies from time to time. The puppy has no stress and can already smell that this is not its mother.
The puppy can already learn to deal with people without stress.</span

STAGE 2: TRANSITIONAL PERIOD (13 TO 21 DAYS)

The eyes are now slowly opening and the little dogs are starting to hear. The puppy will see light and dark and around 19 the puppy will hear.
The body temperature they can now regulate themselves.
And the first teeth are visible.
And the first teeth are visible.

PHASE 3: AWARENESS PERIOD (21 TO 28 DAYS)

In this period, the dog learns that he is a dog.
The puppy sees his littermates and can now hear them.
The senses are then suddenly fully present and this can happen within 24 hours.
That is not nothing for a puppy and therefore it is very important for the breeder to know that those days have to be very stable.
Do NOT move the litter, therefore.

This phase coincides with the socialization period.

STAGE 4: SPECIES-ORIENTED SOCIALIZATION (21 TO 49 DAYS)

This phase is also called the initial socialization period.
In this phase, the dog learns to behave as a dog.
It learns this by seeing and feeling the consequences of its behavior and the behavior of its littermates.
It lives how hard it can bite and how it feels to be bitten.

It learns how to behave as a dog.

They are now practicing their bite brake.
They are learning how to get another puppy to stop biting you if you don't want to be bitten.
Ridness instinct.

A puppy who has no littermates will not learn this.
In this phase, it remains important for puppy to make social contacts with people.</span

STAGE 5: ENVIRONMENTAL SOCIALIZATION (49 TO 84 DAYS OR 7 TO 12 WEEKS)

This is also called the second socialization period.

Many people make the mistake that this is the same as species-focused socialization.
It really isn't!
Species-focused socialization (21 to 49 days/ 3 to 7 weeks)is all about who am I and what species do I belong to.
This is why people are very important during this socialization period.
Environmental socialization( 7 to 12 weeks) is what belongs to my world.
The puppy must learn what belongs to his world in order to later become a stable family dog.
This period is almost impossible to catch up with.
The dog is now learning to get acquainted with things in the house like vacuum cleaners, washing machines, hair dryer and so on and learning to get acquainted with
things outside the house like cars, bicyclists, walkers, horses, cows, cats, and so on and so forth.
The more you introduce the puppy to different things the better the puppy will be able to deal with these and similar things later.

So how does that work?

A puppy has a hard drive.
On that hard drive, within four to five weeks, as much as possible should be on it.
Everything it sees, experiences, and how it has reacted, it puts on that drive.
If he comes across something later he turns on his computer and goes to his hard drive to look for the same experience or similar experience and whether they were good or bad.
The dog will then react with or without fear, depending on the experience or that he has put on his hard drive.
After this period it becomes more and more difficult to put new experiences on that hard drive.
The older one gets the harder it becomes to experience new experiences positively.</span

From 5 to 7 weeks, the puppy is free and doesn't seem to be afraid of anything.
This is going to change in the 8th week, then the puppy becomes more sensitive to fear.
Most puppies are placed with the 8th week just in that sensitive period.
It would be better for the puppy if it went to the new owner just before the eighth week.
The puppy can still freely explore its new environment without going through the initial fear feelings in a new environment.
The puppy would also be placed later than 8 weeks, but that is only possible if the breeder has enough time to do a lot with the puppies. It would be better for the puppy to go to the new owner just before the eighth week.

In this period you can already teach the puppy a lot about which behavior is desired by praising him for the right behavior and ignoring him for the undesired behavior.
Punishment during this period is out of the question!
This is because it is a sensitive period.
Look at the fact that peers would never punish a puppy but ignore unwanted behavior.</span

PHASE 6: is the first period when fear is strongly involved. This period overlaps with environmental socialization.

STAGE 7: RANKING PERIOD (13 TO 16 WEEKS)

In this period the puppy is going to see how far he can go.
He is going to try out what his rank is in the family and if he can move up.
They do this through little things like frolic games, how hard can you bite someone and so on.
The ranking rules must now be observed.</span

Scientific research has shown that dogs that were consistently raised without physical and mental punishment became more stable dogs.
Dogs that were never punished (not physically or mentally) and spoiled became unruly dogs.</span

The word consistent means according to a set plan, in the same way as before.

PHASE 8: TAKING OFF (4 TO 8 MONTHS!)

This is the phase where many dog owners go wrong.
The dog now goes its own way and is suddenly eastwardly deaf.
Everything they learned at home or at dog school they no longer do.
And the once willing pup that walked everywhere with them and let them lift themselves up now goes his own way.
In this period, the environment becomes much more fun than the boss.
He doesn't hear the boss and smells odors that he wants to explore.
And he doesn't hear the boss and smells odors that he wants to explore.

The way you handle your puppy now is very important!!!

The owner goes after the dog when he notices that the dog is no longer responding as he is used to.
The puppy notices this and thinks fun hunting or exploring together and pushes it.
To the great anger, frustration of the boss.
By the time we have caught up with the pup we are tired and angry.
The pup does not understand the boss's reaction. The only thing it has learned is that coming back to the boss is not fun.

Conclusion: Teach the dog that coming to you is always fun even if he doesn't come right away. Never scold or get angry but stay calm.
When the dog comes to you it is fun. Make sure you are more fun than the surroundings.

In this period the teeth begin to change.
The dog will bite things to relieve the pain (think of our human babies)
Don't get angry and remember that it could be because of the changing.
Give the puppy lots of things to chew for example the kong (from the freezer or refrigerated).

In this period fear also increases again, so supervise the dog well.
Mainly natural breeds including the Saarloos wolfdog can fall back into fear.
Situations and things they have been socialized with may now cause them to react a little more fearfully.
Conduct your dog well!

STAGE 9: THAT THE SECOND FEAR IS STRONGLY ACTING UP (6 TO 14 MONTHS)

The dog is in a growth peak.
The dog is sensitive to fearful experiences and needs a stable environment.
The puppy can react fearfully to new things and situations.
He can be a bit more reserved (than normal) towards people.
You should absolutely not acknowledge this period, take it seriously.
Do not support your dog by speaking to or petting him, which will reward him (during moments of fear).
Do a lot with your dog and guide him through everything you do with him!

Go to the city, parks, crowded places, etc. etc. keep an eye on your buddy. See how he/she reacts to the situation in question and take a step back if it becomes too much. Reward in the meantime for desired behavior. Have your dog stroked by a stranger (a vague acquaintance or something) and see how he / she reacts to it. Let your boyfriend know you're there without rewarding anxious behavior.

Do not apply pressure!

STAGE 10: GROWTH TO ADULT (1 TO 3 YEARS)

Depending on the breed and size of the dog, he will mature physically and mentally
The body often forms first.
“Aggression” can now also increase slightly and the ranking is tested again.

Stay patient, calm and consistent.

The Saarloos wolfdog and other natural breeds go through most phases more intensively and longer than the average dogs.
Keep in mind.

It has been scientifically shown that canine behavior may decline if continued opportunities for behavioral organization are not offered until social maturity
(scholar in socialization)

What does this mean for owners?

1 Prolonged stay in a kennel environment before the puppy is six months old and probably even up to 12 months old is harmful!

2 Puppies that are initially developed through a positive association with people and subsequently move to a household with people of the opposite sex, family without children, can lose their positive association due to the absence of stimuli.

3 During the first weeks of life, puppies learn to associate other dogs such as their mother and littermates with positive emotion, but once they leave the nest, being placed in a new environment will reduce this. Unless continued exposure to other dogs.

4 Breeders taking a puppy back from an owner before six months of age should be aware that the behavioral organization (learned during socialization) may diminish if the puppy is placed in a kennel for a significant amount of time. This also applies to an asylum.

5 All puppy owners should consistently reinforce the behavioral organization (learned in socialization).