Socializing your Alaskan Klee Kai

Why is socialization so important?

Due to their reserved and shy nature, Alaskan Klee Kai require constant socialization throughout their lives. Unlike other dog breeds, they tend not to be social butterflies and very often want very little to do with those who they do not know- this is a trait found to be common in the breed. Without proper socialization, they can become fearful and even aggressive towards strangers and other animals.

Socializing your puppy early is therefore key- in fact the process of socialization technically starts at the breeders when the puppy is born. However it’s important to remember that socialization is also a lifelong process.

What is socialization?

Socialization means learning how to be part of society.  For dogs, it refers to the learning of how to act, and be comfortable in the human world.  A dog’s temperament and behaviour will depend on both environmental and genetic factors; while we are unable to change their genetic makeup, we are able to provide them with proper socialization. Socialization is critical when it comes to raising a puppy to become a well adjusted  and confident adult dog. To socialize your puppy, you want to expose him to as many things as possible, in a safe and positive manner.

The goal is to ultimately have your Alaskan Klee Kai pup not only tolerate, but accept strangers. Remember that the breed is quite an attention catcher and as an owner, you will have strangers coming up to you to ask questions about your pup.

How do I socialize my puppy?

alaskankleekaisocializationAlways keep socialization fun and positive for your puppy as negative experiences will do more harm than no socialization at all. Socializing your pup is a gradual process, it may take more than one experience for them to become comfortable with the setting. Bring lots of treats and use them- you want your dog to associate good things with the things you are exposing him to.  Other positive reinforcements such as verbal praise or words of encouragement also work well.

Never push your dog beyond his limits; if he is obviously uncomfortable with the situation, don’t force him but instead, take a step back and go a little slower. Many puppy training classes are also great opportunities for socialization.

You want your puppy’s associations with the world to always be positive, so that they are able to grow up thinking that life is good and safe. Negative experiences will only act to permanently traumatize your puppy. For ideas of different things to expose your puppy to, click here to view AKKOA’s 12 steps for puppy socialization.

alaskankleekaisocialization2When should I socialize my puppy?

All puppies go through a critical socialization period; for the Alaskan Klee Kai, this usually occurs around the ages of 12 to 20 weeks. During this time period, puppies are incredibly responsive to socialization- any small amount of positive experience will have a large impact on their later behaviour. While socialization is something that is to be continued throughout their lives, it is recommended to take full advantage of this critical window of opportunity before it closes.

Puppies without adequate socialization during this period of time are more likely to become fearful, reactive dogs. Socialization should therefore begin the moment you bring your puppy home. A big part of how well a dog will get along with other people and animals has to do with how well he has been socialized.

Where should I bring my puppy for socialization?

Before your puppy is fully vaccinated, socialization should be limited only to safe environments (eg. a fenced up backyard, your home, etc), public areas such as dog parks should be avoided. However as soon as your puppy is fully vaccinated, you should be ready to take him everywhere (provided that they are safe and dog-friendly) with you. Bring your Alaskan Klee Kai with you everywhere and have him gain as many positive experiences with as many different things as possible!

Here is a list of some example places to take your puppy to:

– Public parks
– Pet-supply stores
– Stores and shops that allow dogs
– The veterinarian’s office
– Walks around the neighbourhood
– Outdoor cafes

To summarize…

While the act of socializing your pup can be time and energy consuming, it is absolutely necessary if you want your puppy to grow into a happy, confident and well-rounded adult dog.