If yes, did you have a lot of on-leash greetings, doggy daycare, play dates, dog parks etc?

In a different post, I talked about under-socialization and how NOT exposing your puppy to the world during the critical development period (0-18weeks), can lead to huge behavioral problems.

Today, let’s discuss “over-socialization”

Socialization is grossly misunderstood.

SOCIALIZATION ≠ DIRECT INTERACTION

Socialization is the process of creating neutrality to stimuli in the environment.

Dogs are constantly taking in data from the environment around them and creating associations based off of the data they receive.

If you constantly had on-leash greetings, unstructured play dates, open floor doggy daycare, dog parks, etc you either:

A) built value in other dogs/people and now your dog is reactive because of the frustration of not being able to get to something incredibly valuable to them

OR

B) your dog was overwhelmed and had a bad experience and is now reactive due to insecurity and fear

To be clear, reactivity doesn’t usually manifest from ONE specific thing. We typically see a manifestation of reactive behavior from a mix of genetics, under-exposure and/or improper socialization.

So if you’re struggling with reactivity, the first step is to determine WHY the behavior is being displayed.

Behavior serves a function. It is not meaningless.

Did you “over-socialize” your dog and did it lead to reactive behaviors?