My article in Bark Magazine about early puppy socialization

By Jeff Stallings

I am thrilled to have had articles published in the last two issues of the highly-respected Bark Magazine. In the current Spring 2015 issue, my piece concerns the importance of early socialization to other puppies before full vaccination. This has become a primary focus for me in part because there is so much outdated, discredited information about when and how to begin exposing puppies to other puppies.

Unfortunately, some misinformed breeders and veterinarians continue to advise new puppy owners to wait until full vaccination to begin socialization, by which time the socialization period has ended. This alone leads to more behavior problems—specifically fear and aggression—than any other single factor.  This inability to “speak dog” leads to the sort of aggression which all too often leads to surrender and euthanasia.

Get Your Puppy Off to a Good Start
By Jeff Stallings CPDT-KA

There is no disputing the fact that having rich and varied social experiences in the first three months of life improves a puppy’s odds of a growing into balanced, confident dog. Also not in question is the reality that canine under-socialization can result in behavior problems, fear and aggression, all primary reasons for relinquishment and euthanasia in pet dogs.

The window in which the most effective socialization takes place is only open between weeks 3 and 12 of the puppy’s life; then, it slams shut. Given that the last combination vaccine (against distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus, parainfluenza and coronavirus) is usually administered when a puppy is 16 weeks old, it’s also the genesis of a dilemma.

Click here to continue reading on the Bark Magazine website.



About Jeff Stallings, CPDT-KA

Having owned well-trained dogs all my life, I started Better Nature Dog Training to exploit decades of experience teaching across a number of fields. I am nationally-certified through the highly-respected Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers and am a professional member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers. I teach people how to effectively train their dogs by clearly demonstrating that every interaction counts when training a dog to come when called, for example, or instructing a puppy how to best get along in life. I take a scientific and holistic approach to dog training. The scientific aspect comes from understanding dog psychology from an evolutionary perspective, knowing how dogs are both similar to and distinct from their ancestors, including the grey wolf. The holistic component derives from taking into account all facets of any particular dog’s situation, including upbringing, prior training, traumatic events and—most importantly—the characteristics of his home and family life. Training a puppy or dog can be a most rewarding life experience; it can also be stressful and perplexing. One of the best services I provide is taking the guesswork out while lending a sure, guiding hand in successful dog behavior development and modification.
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One Response to My article in Bark Magazine about early puppy socialization

  1. Ellen Lewis says:

    I am grateful for this article as I did not socialize my previous dog and she was very dog aggressive. It took a lot of training for her to socialize and still I was not secure when she was around other dogs. I had thought since I had another dog that she would be ok around other dogs. Wrong. Now I have a new puppy and have been socializing her since 8 weeks. I read this article before adopting her. Thank you Dr. Stallings!

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