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What Is the Role of Socialization in Preventing Dog Aggression?

Posted on: June 16th, 2024

Aggressive dogs are a danger to adults, children, and other dogs. Although it might seem that some dogs are inherently aggressive, it’s more likely that an aggressive dog was not properly socialized before turning violent.

As with other aspects of training and controlling a dog to avoid dog bite attacks, socialization is the responsibility of the owner. Colorado dog bite laws include strict liability for dog bites, and a dog owner can be held responsible if a poorly socialized animal attacks an adult, child, or other animal.

If you or a family member was attacked by a dog, let Pushchak Law help. Our focus on dog bite lawsuits improves our expertise in this area, and our Informed Decisions™ Approach puts your needs first in the handling of any lawsuit.

What Is Socialization?

dog socializationMost dogs these days are companion animals: their primary job is to be a friend to one or more humans and other pets. In this context, socialization is the process of teaching dogs that people and animals are not dangerous and should be considered the source of positive experiences.

Socialization is often described as “desensitization.” Dogs are exposed to a wide range of stimuli, including exposure to people, animals, objects, sounds, and even textures that they’re expected to encounter later in life. Exposing dogs to these stimuli early helps them form more positive associations with them, leading to dogs that are more friendly, happier, and less stressed as adults.

“Puppy Parties” Are Important to Prevent Aggression

Properly socializing a dog depends on understanding when’s the best time to socialize a dog. The optimal socialization period is 3-12 weeks of age. At five weeks, dogs begin to develop a strong fear response toward loud noises and the unfamiliar, but they learn which ones represent danger and which ones are safe. Puppies are afraid of humans during this period, but positive human contact quickly teaches them that humans are good to be around. Puppies that don’t get human contact before the age of 14 weeks often struggle to develop companionate bonds with humans later in life.

Dogs should keep getting socialization through their juvenile period. It’s important to expose dogs to as many of the experiences you expect them to encounter during their life as possible. This includes exposure to people of different ages, sexes, and races.

However, it’s not just socialization that drives dog aggression. A dog’s early experiences can influence its aggressive behavior. Dogs that were raised in a home are less likely to be aggressive than dogs raised in kennels, sheds, or barns.

Socializing an Aggressive Dog

socializing an aggressive dogAlthough it’s important to socialize a dog early in life, socialization may still play a role if your dog is showing aggressive behaviors later in life. So, what can you do if your dog shows aggressive behavior? Socialization can help at this point, but you must approach it carefully.

If your dog shows aggression in social situations, keep your dog under close control and take steps to reduce aggression in future contacts. It’s important to remember that most aggressive behavior in dogs comes from fear. Take steps to build your dog’s confidence before reintroducing them to “challenging” social situations. Training can help with this – if your dog understands what’s expected of them, they will be more confident and are more likely to follow expectations than to be aggressive. Make sure your dog feels safe in social situations – this will also help prevent aggressive behavior.

As with early socialization, socialization of an older dog is a matter of desensitization. Expose the dog to situations that cause aggressive behaviors and try to encourage positive experiences that will help the dog to feel more secure and safe.

For some dogs, medication may play an important role in managing aggressive behavior.

Why Choose Pushchak Law as Your Dog Bite Attorney

When a dog bites, it can result in serious damage. Whether the dog attacked a child or an adult, the injuries can be critical, requiring extensive medical treatment and surgery. This may include reconstructive plastic surgery if the dog attacked the face or other visible areas. In addition, a dog bite victim may have ongoing trauma.

A dog bite lawsuit can help you get compensation for all the expensive complications following from a dog bite attack. At Pushchak Law, we’ve made this area a principle focus of our practice. By specializing in this type of lawsuit, Brian Pushchak has developed techniques and methods to help his clients get the compensation they deserve from negligent dog owners who don’t properly train or control their dogs.

Our unique Informed Decisions™ Approach also improves your situation after a dog bite attack. We take a personal approach to your dog bite lawsuit because we care about our clients. Your best interests are our overriding concern, and we will do everything we can to ensure you get the best possible outcome for your case. We define the best outcome by taking the time to listen to your goals, so we understand whether your priorities are for quick settlement, maximum compensation, or some other outcome. Then we’ll recommend how best to achieve your goals given the situation. However, you remain in control of the case, and the final decision is always yours.

Contact Pushchak Law today to schedule a free consultation. We serve clients in Denver and the surrounding areas of Colorado.

Brian Pushchak | Personal Injury Law Firm Denver, CO
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