(a) My dog does not let me groom him/her

(b) My dog growls and barks when he/she sees old people or foreigners.

(c) My dog is scared of loud noises.

Dogs can suffer from a number of different fears and phobias. These phobias can have a variety of causes. One of these is the lack of early and proper socialization. A dog that is not exposed to new stimuli as a young puppy may develop negative and aggressive behaviour towards anything new in his/her surroundings, usually without any serious reason.

Some dogs experience feelings of anxiety and insecurity in the first 6-12 months of their lives. If socialization does not occur positively, phobias and aggressive behaviour are more likely to develop.

When a dog does not socialize properly in an early stage of his/her life, the negative behaviour that might be developed, will make it really difficult to live with us harmoniously. We try to avoid such problems by investing in the proper and early training and socialization of our dog, starting within the fourth week of his/her life. It is therefore necessary to make our dog familiar with various situations, such as grooming, ear cleaning, washing, walking in busy roads etc., early in his/her life.

Introduce your puppy to all kinds of people. Short, tall, dark or fair haired, of different ethnicities, of all ages, people who use wheelchairs or walking aids (sticks and crutches), in uniforms, with helmets etc.

When we expect friends to visit us, we suggest they should not go straight to our puppy to greet him/her as they will most probably scare him/her. We give our dog time to get to know our guests at his/her own pace and feel comfortable with them (we let our dog smell them and then we observe the dog’s reaction and the wagging of his/her tail).

The above tips will allow our dog to get accustomed to different environment and situations that he/she will continually experience throughout his/her life while they will also reduce the chance of our dog developing aggressive or antisocial behaviour. However, it is not guaranteed that early socialization will entirely prevent behavioural problems a hundred percent of the time. But the odds of trouble do decrease considerably.