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More than Just Fun & Games 556

by Kathryn R. Gubista, PhD

The value of socializing with others is much more than just fun and games. Socialization encourages learning at all levels and is true for both humans and our doggie friends.

Socialization during a Pandemic

During this global coronavirus pandemic, we are suddenly confronted with strict limitations in our ability to socialize with others. These restrictions are especially difficult for children because they impact more than just their playtime. Social restrictions have negative effects on an individual’s behavioral development, which is true for dogs too, especially during their Wonder Weeks.

Socialization during the Wonder Weeks

The peak time for dog socialization is 4-12 weeks. This short window of time during their early weeks is when a pup’s personality is formed. Of course, dogs that do not receive adequate socialization early in their lives will still benefit from social experiences. But it may be more challenging as bad habits may have already formed.

Value of Doggie Socialization

Learning with the help of others is fun, effective and long lasting, which is the true value of doggie socialization. There are so many things that dogs learn in social situations – things like how to tolerate and play with other dogs and how to share toys, space and even people.

Socialization also allows dogs to become role models for other dogs to influence their behaviors. For example, calm dogs can teach anxious dogs how to relax and be patient when they are without their beloved humans. Fearful dogs can also learn how to trust other humans and dogs by observing and mimicking the behavior of friendly, fearless dogs. And since dogs love to stick together in groups/packs, off-leash training becomes safer and more effective!

Training with MUTTLEY Crew Socialization

Our board and train program is based on dogs learning from our Muttley Crew, which includes three loveable golden retrievers and an adorable beagle-mix rescue pup. Lucky client dogs reside with our Muttley Crew, who love to play and train with other dogs and puppies, no matter their age, breed or size. And our successful training results prove that socialization opportunities allow dogs to learn new skills faster than they would without the help of our trained crew.

Training Success with Socialization

Monkey-see-monkey-do training is the secret to our board and train success. Our Muttley Crew helps client dogs overcome separation anxiety issues by staying by their side and demonstrating calm, relaxed behaviors at all times. Puppies and adult dogs learn valuable social skills through play and imitation. Leash reactive dogs learn to tolerate other dogs by developing great leash skills with doggie training partners. When dogs struggle with obedience and manners skills, our crew leads the way and help dogs learn skills that will last a lifetime.

Does your pup need training? We would love to help! Along with training you and your pup all the necessary training skills to eliminate stress in your life, our programs provide doggie socialization opportunities that are at a premium during this global pandemic.

Kathryn R. Gubista, PhD is an evolutionary biologist, college biology instructor, former zookeeper, author and certified professional dog trainer with Lucky Dog Training Asheville. She can be followed on Instagram @LuckyDogTrainingAVL and @KyloRenPup. She can be contacted for more information at or at 828-423-9635.

Optional pull quote: “Calm dogs can teach anxious dogs.”

Caption: The Muttley Crew taking five from training.


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