“No man is an island.” We often hear this statement referring to a human’s inability to survive without another human’s interaction. Although many are able to live their lives in their own room for years, it is not healthy.
In the same way, a lack of social skills in dogs can also be dangerous not just for them, but for others as well. Sure – nutrition, regular vaccinations, parasite control, and regular veterinary exams are important in keeping your dog healthy. But above all, this is a factor we often forget – socialization. In fact, just as no man is an island, no dog is an island either.
PetMD.com gives us four reasons as to why it is important to let your dogs socialize with others.
Dogs who are not used to socializing are often afraid of new or unusual circumstances. This results in their bodies secreting various hormones. Adrenalin hormones, for one, increase heart and respiration rates and blood pressure. Corticosteroid hormones also contribute to an increase in heart rate and blood pressure. While these hormones increase awareness and responses, they also decrease blood flow to the kidneys and intestines, promote muscle breakdown, and suppress immune system function. Thus, poorly socialized dogs are easily stressed.
Difficult Veterinary Exams
Poorly socialized dogs are also afraid of strangers. This fear, in turn, creates aggression, which makes it hard for a veterinarian to examine a dog. Not only does this behavior stress the dog out, but it also poses a threat to whoever touches him. Struggling animals also make it difficult to objectively evaluate the heart and lungs. In worse cases, fear sensitizes the heart to potentially life-threatening heart arrhythmias if sedation or anesthesia is being used. This can, in turn, be fatal to the dog.
Since dogs like this do not want to associate with others, owners also tend to be quite reluctant to take their dog out. This can be because a poorly socialized dog’s behavior can be unpredictable. You never know, he might suddenly attack someone outside. However, a lack of exercise can cause your dog to become obese and will lead to other serious illnesses.
It is difficult to take a poorly socialized dog for grooming since they are not used to being handled. Thus, this usually results in the dog being poorly groomed.
It is important to allow your dog to socialize from an early age. The age window for socialization is 3-12 weeks of age.