Updated: Dec 3, 2022
Ever wondered why your dog hide and bark when approached by other puppies or adult dogs?
Does your dog run away or become aggressive to other dogs and human?
If answer is ‘yes’ for any of these questions. Then you must check with your breeder and the breeding conditions because it has to do something with your puppy’s interaction with other puppies in few initial weeks after birth.
Socialization of puppies start very early at age of 3 -3 ½ weeks. As soon as eyes are open puppies begin to explore it’s surrounding. This is called IDENTIFICATION PHASE. Species identification is first learning, puppies learn about their own identification as dogs through ‘play-fighting’ behavior with other puppies. In this sensitive period from 3 weeks age to 12-14 weeks age (when dog stop playing with unfamiliar dogs) puppies learn to socialize with their own species. In this period:
1. Puppies identify and start interacting their parents (filial imprinting).
2. Develop social relations with other puppies in litter or surrounding dogs (fraternal imprinting).
3. Begin to identify sexual preferences and relations (sexual imprinting).
These early imprinting are easily acquired, almost irreversible and plays important role in behavior of dog later in his/her life.
Effects on dog behavior:
Puppies raised in isolation or with other species (Ex. Human Beings) often do not socialize and identify with other dogs. They develop rejection (fight or flight) towards other dogs or mirror image.
Puppies identify with other nearby species or objects (toys etc.). This can lead to courtship and copulation with those species or objects. Which can be very awkward condition.
Attachment to the identified species or object leads to behavioral disturbance like separation anxiety in such dogs.
Dogs own species identification is not innate but acquired later in life. So proper interaction and socialization of puppy with other puppies and dogs is important for normal psychological behavior of dogs later in their life.