Does socialization mask behavioral sensitivities?

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Postby amalie79 » January 18th, 2011, 12:33 pm

LMM wrote:Certainly, remedial socialization and training may improve a fearful/aggressive pup’s disposition and behavior but without sufficient early socialization, a puppy will never become what he could have been. The socialization window has closed and the opportunity has been lost forever.


And I think that's such a wonderful point-- take a dog that's awesome without socialization... think how much MORE awesome he could have been WITH socialization.
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Postby TheRedQueen » January 18th, 2011, 12:45 pm

amalie79 wrote:
LMM wrote:Certainly, remedial socialization and training may improve a fearful/aggressive pup’s disposition and behavior but without sufficient early socialization, a puppy will never become what he could have been. The socialization window has closed and the opportunity has been lost forever.


And I think that's such a wonderful point-- take a dog that's awesome without socialization... think how much MORE awesome he could have been WITH socialization.


Oh yes! What a thought! *musing* 8)
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Postby mnp13 » January 18th, 2011, 5:02 pm

SisMorphine wrote:Now what Alison is focused on is the possibility of the heavy socialization masking inherent temperament flaws. But personally I feel that anything you do with a dog that young is going to go into the building of the dog's temperament since I don't believe that the dog's temperament is set only by genetics.


As noted by the two people in this thread who work in the field of genetics research, it is scientifically proven that environment affects genetics.

Also, though I have not raised a litter of puppies, every person I know who has done so says that there are fear periods to puppy development. Therefore, it is impossible to evaluate puppy temperament on Tuesday, January 18, 2011. You must look at the temperament over a period of weeks or months so unless someone is evaluating them daily or weekly there is no way to gauge the temperament of that puppy.

You absolutely can screw up a puppy through mistakes in early socialization, and those screw ups may not be fixable. But just like you can "ruin" a puppy, the opposite is also true - you can make it a much better puppy.

It's also important to note that MANY studies have been done on animal interaction with infants of the species. Babies of any species that get no interaction fail to thrive and often die. The more they interact, the better they do - mentally and physically. Though no one here is saying that puppies that don't get comprehensive socialization are being put in a black box and ignored, there is also TONS of scientific evidence that an enriching environment during infancy creates better coping skills in about every aspect of life regardless of species.

Like has been mentioned - if a dog is fantastic with no socialization then how much better would it have been if it had been worked with at even a basic level? Of course, there is no way to know... because once those formative weeks are gone there is no going back.
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Postby TheRedQueen » January 18th, 2011, 5:08 pm

mnp13 wrote:Also, though I have not raised a litter of puppies, every person I know who has done so says that there are fear periods to puppy development. Therefore, it is impossible to evaluate puppy temperament on Tuesday, January 18, 2011. You must look at the temperament over a period of weeks or months so unless someone is evaluating them daily or weekly there is no way to gauge the temperament of that puppy.


Also, even disregarding fear periods, you can just have a puppy having a bad day, you can have a large litter, and the last ones tested can be tired/hungry by the time it's their turn, so they might show different behaviors because of the difference in timing. There are soooo many things that might happen to make a puppy not test well on a given day.
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Postby amalie79 » January 18th, 2011, 5:17 pm

One more thought... I know we've been talking about human interaction with puppies (ie, the socialization that we give them), but I recall Patricia McConnell writing about litters of only one puppy. I'd have to jump on Ebsco to see if I can find any actual studies of this, but she relayed anecdotal evidence, which I've heard echoed by others, that single-puppy litters are very different-- that they can have a variety of "social" problems both with other dogs and with people. Whether that's true or not... :|

And whether we could say that that's a result of differing genetics or lack of dog-dog socialization, who knows. Just another interesting angle on how early socialization might affect temperament.

And talk about puppies having an off day-- I chose Simon because he was the quietest, calmest puppy the day I went to pick out my dog... He ended up being a super high-strung, sensitive, barker. Had I known a bit more, I might have recognized that as a dog that shies away from human interaction...but I can tell you his full personality was NOT on display that particular day. :rolleyes2:
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Postby airwalk » January 18th, 2011, 6:09 pm

Like has been mentioned - if a dog is fantastic with no socialization then how much better would it have been if it had been worked with at even a basic level? Of course, there is no way to know... because once those formative weeks are gone there is no going back.


I must be reading a different thread than the rest of you, because I haven't seen anyone say any different.
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Postby amalie79 » January 18th, 2011, 6:26 pm

airwalk wrote:
Like has been mentioned - if a dog is fantastic with no socialization then how much better would it have been if it had been worked with at even a basic level? Of course, there is no way to know... because once those formative weeks are gone there is no going back.


I must be reading a different thread than the rest of you, because I haven't seen anyone say any different.



I certainly can't speak for anyone else, but looking back over things, it appears that there's sort of the implication that a truly good dog doesn't need the socialization-- not that socialization is bad, or that it's not being done... just that the raw genetics of a "good" dog will make it "good" no matter what-- that a lot of socialization isn't necessary if the right genes are there to begin with.
:| :|
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Postby DemoDick » January 18th, 2011, 8:26 pm

SisMorphine wrote:
DemoDick wrote:
Regarding working dogs: I see a lot of people who wash out dogs with "environmental issues" because they either have no idea how to train or don't want to be bothered with it. Most people these days are just into drive manipulation and don't want to problem solve, hence the second the dog shows any issues it gets washed out. Dog sport competitors go through prospects like crap through a goose. The new dog is the greatest, awesome genetics, naturally full, hard grips, environmentally sound, etc. Then six months down the road the dog is sold or retired because of a "genetic" issue...but the NEW dog is the greatest, awesome genetics, etc. Silly, really, because I've seen dogs with all kinds of "issues" who show no interest in bitework at all explode at 18 months into solid workhorses.

Teeny was one of these. Didn't show any real interest in bitework until she was 23 months to the date, and then exploded. I had one of the FR greats tell me that she didn't understand why I was putting the time into the dog, but that she was glad that Teeny made her eat her words ;)


Teeny was one of the examples I thought of. I know of plenty of others, too. I'm positive that plenty of people would have washed Connor out early on due to his screaming into the bite and body whip (which I like), as well as his gunshyness. Bottom line is the dog works.

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Postby airwalk » January 18th, 2011, 8:42 pm

amalie79 wrote:
airwalk wrote:
Like has been mentioned - if a dog is fantastic with no socialization then how much better would it have been if it had been worked with at even a basic level? Of course, there is no way to know... because once those formative weeks are gone there is no going back.


I must be reading a different thread than the rest of you, because I haven't seen anyone say any different.



I certainly can't speak for anyone else, but looking back over things, it appears that there's sort of the implication that a truly good dog doesn't need the socialization-- not that socialization is bad, or that it's not being done... just that the raw genetics of a "good" dog will make it "good" no matter what-- that a lot of socialization isn't necessary if the right genes are there to begin with.
:| :|


Again, I never got that from the information at all. I got one persons preference as to how and what they look for in a puppy that they are acquiring for a specific purpose.
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Postby airwalk » January 18th, 2011, 8:43 pm

amalie79 wrote:
airwalk wrote:
Like has been mentioned - if a dog is fantastic with no socialization then how much better would it have been if it had been worked with at even a basic level? Of course, there is no way to know... because once those formative weeks are gone there is no going back.


I must be reading a different thread than the rest of you, because I haven't seen anyone say any different.



I certainly can't speak for anyone else, but looking back over things, it appears that there's sort of the implication that a truly good dog doesn't need the socialization-- not that socialization is bad, or that it's not being done... just that the raw genetics of a "good" dog will make it "good" no matter what-- that a lot of socialization isn't necessary if the right genes are there to begin with.
:| :|


Again, I never got that from the information at all. I got one persons preference as to how and what they look for in a puppy that they are acquiring for a specific purpose.
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Postby airwalk » January 18th, 2011, 8:44 pm

Sorry, I posted too soon - I then read other people's opinions about how and what they look for and how they achieve those results. :| seems to me that was the exact intent of the conversation was to have that information outlined from several perspectives. Didn't lose it's value until it got personal.
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Postby TinaMartin » January 18th, 2011, 9:02 pm

The amount of environmental stimulation has a very profound and direct effect on not just dogs but any animal. I am not at work so only have internet on my phone so can't post the links but if you google The effects of environmental stimulation on synaptic development you will get all sorts of results that scientificly support this. It is a plain and simple SCIENTIFIC FACT that the amount and diversity of environmental stimulation directly effects brain developement in a very profound way. To break it down to basics you effect the ability to process and react to anything faced in the future. There is a critical window and once it is passed it is passed. Studies have been done on everything from mice to humans. The more you stimulate any warm blooded animal environmentally the better off they are. Literally years of study can not be intelligently overlooked.
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Postby Leslie H » January 18th, 2011, 9:13 pm

Image
Here's Scheme, at 9 weeks in the pic. I got her at 7 weeks, and have been socializing her ever since. Not much w/dogs beyond mine and a couple others, until she's up on vaccinations, but going everywhere, meeting everyone, exploring all kinds of stuff. So far it all goes well. Her parents are weight pull dogs w/very solid temperaments, despite not having been exposed to much (weight pulls, home, vet). Scheme so far has been very solid. I hope to do weight pull, therapy dog and agility w/her, if I get rich, perhaps some bitework. While I am very pleased w/her temperament, I'm eager to take advantage of this window of opportunity.
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Postby TinaMartin » January 18th, 2011, 9:21 pm

Holy cow she's cute! Leslie in your hands I'm sure she will continue to excell developementally
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Postby DemoDick » January 18th, 2011, 9:25 pm

TinaMartin wrote:The amount of environmental stimulation has a very profound and direct effect on not just dogs but any animal. I am not at work so only have internet on my phone so can't post the links but if you google The effects of environmental stimulation on synaptic development you will get all sorts of results that scientificly support this. It is a plain and simple SCIENTIFIC FACT that the amount and diversity of environmental stimulation directly effects brain developement in a very profound way. To break it down to basics you effect the ability to process and react to anything faced in the future. There is a critical window and once it is passed it is passed. Studies have been done on everything from mice to humans. The more you stimulate any warm blooded animal environmentally the better off they are. Literally years of study can not be intelligently overlooked.


If anyone wants to know what humans are like berift of early socialization (epigenetics) just Google "feral child". On a biological level, we are barely above chimps. And that's barely with a "B".

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Postby BigDogBuford » January 18th, 2011, 9:41 pm

Or take a look at the babies in orphanages in other countries where the babies get virtually no contact. It's really, really sad.
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Postby airwalk » January 18th, 2011, 11:04 pm

TinaMartin wrote:The amount of environmental stimulation has a very profound and direct effect on not just dogs but any animal. I am not at work so only have internet on my phone so can't post the links but if you google The effects of environmental stimulation on synaptic development you will get all sorts of results that scientificly support this. It is a plain and simple SCIENTIFIC FACT that the amount and diversity of environmental stimulation directly effects brain developement in a very profound way. To break it down to basics you effect the ability to process and react to anything faced in the future. There is a critical window and once it is passed it is passed. Studies have been done on everything from mice to humans. The more you stimulate any warm blooded animal environmentally the better off they are. Literally years of study can not be intelligently overlooked.


I haven't overlooked that information, as a matter of fact, I happen to thoroughly agree.
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Postby TinaMartin » January 19th, 2011, 9:28 am

airwalk wrote:
TinaMartin wrote:The amount of environmental stimulation has a very profound and direct effect on not just dogs but any animal. I am not at work so only have internet on my phone so can't post the links but if you google The effects of environmental stimulation on synaptic development you will get all sorts of results that scientificly support this. It is a plain and simple SCIENTIFIC FACT that the amount and diversity of environmental stimulation directly effects brain developement in a very profound way. To break it down to basics you effect the ability to process and react to anything faced in the future. There is a critical window and once it is passed it is passed. Studies have been done on everything from mice to humans. The more you stimulate any warm blooded animal environmentally the better off they are. Literally years of study can not be intelligently overlooked.


I haven't overlooked that information, as a matter of fact, I happen to thoroughly agree.

Yes Diana. The point I want to make though is if someone going to have a working dog dont they want that dog to have every advantage possible? It cant if that window is closed. That synaptic development will effect how well the dog reacts to and processes things while working. It also effects the the dogs very ability to think. If one waits until the pups are 7 weeks old to have someone see the first time something has happened synaptic development has already been missed. The more synapses that are there the better.
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Postby furever_pit » January 19th, 2011, 10:41 am

Leslie H wrote:Image
Here's Scheme, at 9 weeks in the pic. I got her at 7 weeks, and have been socializing her ever since. Not much w/dogs beyond mine and a couple others, until she's up on vaccinations, but going everywhere, meeting everyone, exploring all kinds of stuff. So far it all goes well. Her parents are weight pull dogs w/very solid temperaments, despite not having been exposed to much (weight pulls, home, vet). Scheme so far has been very solid. I hope to do weight pull, therapy dog and agility w/her, if I get rich, perhaps some bitework. While I am very pleased w/her temperament, I'm eager to take advantage of this window of opportunity.


My pups get the same. I'm not at all saying that people should not socialize their pups. My young ones go everywhere with me when they get home - work, the bank, the bar, restaurants, the beach, the horse farm, bbqs, the skate park etc etc etc. If I am going somewhere and a pup can come, it's coming. It is all exposure and it is all a temperament test.

I just happen to personally believe that a truly good dog doesn't need to be exposed to every kind of flooring or toy or shape, size, or color of person before it reaches the age of 7 weeks. That' my opinion. Like I have already said, ALL puppies receive some amount of socialization as a simple byproduct of being alive. Do I need to list them? The surface of the area in which they are whelped. The surface of the kennel or whatnot that they are moved to if the breeder has a different area. Every single surface on the way from that area to outside to go to the bathroom. All exploration outside is initiated by the puppies and really who is gonna stop that? They are socialized with their mother. Socialized with any dogs that are kenneled next to or across from them. Any loud noises that occur naturally, yelling, gunshots, etc. I'm sure they meet people who come by the house because really, who isn't gonna ask to go see the puppies? There's a ton of different stuff that puppies will experience as a natural part of life. The pups are then evaluated with new experiences and sent to their respective homes where their new owner can socialize them as they see fit.

I just happen to like, when I do go to evaluate a pup, seeing new things. Even if the breeder has exposed the pup to a million things, I am going to look for something that pup has never seen before. If they've never played with metal, that will be something I do. The initial reaction to a new object or experience says a lot to me.

No where at all have I said that socialization is a bad thing.
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Postby mnp13 » January 19th, 2011, 12:24 pm

furever_pit wrote:I just happen to personally believe that a truly good dog doesn't need to be exposed to every kind of flooring or toy or shape, size, or color of person before it reaches the age of 7 weeks. That' my opinion.


Yes, that is your opinion; and though everyone is entitled to opinions that doesn't change that it is scientific fact (as noted by two people in this thread who work and are published in the field of genetics) that once the "window of opportunity" is closed on temperament it's done. Early enrichment changes the temperament of the dog. That is not opinion, that is fact. Does a dog "need" exposure to different floors to live? No. Will that make it a better dog? Yes. Does it "need" exposure to different people, genders, races, ages? No. Will that make it a better dog? Yes.

No where at all have I said that socialization is a bad thing.

No, you have not said "socialization is a bad thing." You have made comments such as: a "good dog" doesn't need anything past the absolute basic stuff. That a lot of socialization is ok for other dogs, but not necessary for "working dogs" with better genetics. Direct quotes? No. But that's the general jist and I'm not the only one seeing that.

Frankly, I think it's a lazy breeder who doesn't bother to make sure that puppies experience more than the walk from the whelping box/puppy room to outside to go to the bathroom. And blowing it off that "good dogs don't need it" is a cop out. Because better dogs are the result.

I know plenty of "breeders" who let mom raise the pups in outdoor kennels. The puppies experience the kennel floor, the outside run, and people when they drop in to feed. That's basic care, and according to your definition adequate socialization. How much better would those dogs be down the road if they weren't two months old before they saw their first slippery floor? Their first set of stairs? Their first cat?

A lot of socialization makes for a better dog down the road. Period. There is (almost) no such thing as a dog that is "too stable" or "too friendly" or has experienced "too much" (of course there is, as noted by Jeanine about over doing it to the point of neurosis... but there are extreme exceptions to everything. )
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