This book covers the most important topic of socialization for puppies (and older dogs, too!). Laura VanArendonk Baugh, a Certified Training Partner with the Karen Pryor Academy, will expand your understanding of socialization with simple and straightforward examples in this book!

This book is a must-read for:

  • New Puppy Owners
  • Experienced Puppy Owners with a new puppy
  • Fosters of Rescue Puppies and Dogs of all ages
  • Breeders of all breeds
  • Puppy Raisers of Service Dogs
  • Owners of Reactive, Shy, or Fearful Dogs of any age!

“This is key! My goal is not to carry the responsibility of distracting Buster for the rest of his life! My goal is that he learns to check out his environment, evaluate a situation, and make an educated decision about how to respond. That is a socialized dog. That’s what I want.”

Social, Civil and Savvy: Training and Socializing Puppies to become the Best Possible Dogs, Chapter Five: Meeting Others – pg. 61-62. Laura VanArendonk Baugh CPDT-KA KPACTP

We recommend purchasing a paper copy of this book so you can highlight all your favorite parts and easily find them again! We also recommend supporting the DogWise Publishing Company. This is not an affiliate link; we do not make money from your purchase.

What We Like About This Book

Cassy Kay: I like how Laura’s socialization methods create a confident, well-adjusted dog by teaching valuable skills, creating trust in the owner, making the puppy feel safe, and avoiding dangerous situations during socialization trips. And it’s so simple!

Ivy Alexis: I appreciate how the author provides many real-life examples with her dogs. These examples, along with her clear explanations, make the advice in this book simple to follow and understand. They allow the reader to apply the concepts with their dog easily.

We appreciate that this book gives so much information about socializing puppies and doesn’t leave out the adolescent and adult dogs that need further socialization. Many dogs have missed out on “well done” socialization during the critical socialization period. This is especially true of dogs in rescues and shelters. These dogs can still learn to adjust to life around strange people and dogs, in new places, and around scary objects with the tools taught in Social, Civil, and Savvy!

Chapter Highlight: Chapter 3: Basics

In this chapter, Laura gives you three tools to help socialize your puppy or dog in a safe, stress-free way. These tools will create clear communication, give your puppy confidence, and encourage your dog to think and not just react emotionally.

Laura teaches three behaviors in Chapter Three that will help your puppy navigate the world with appropriate behaviors when he encounters new situations. These behaviors are Targeting, Orienting, and Recall. When you train these three behaviors, it will be like giving your dog a puzzle to think about, and when he gets it, his confidence will go up!

Targeting is teaching your dog to bump his nose against your hand or a target stick. This skill is handy for moving your puppy around by requesting a behavior you can reinforce instead of having to pull on his leash. That can make the experience a positive one instead of a potentially scary or frustrating one that might cause unwanted behaviors. In Chapter Six: Building Confidence, Targeting is used to help your puppy approach scary objects without stress or force.

Orienting is all about getting focus. Who doesn’t want a puppy or dog that can look at you for guidance when they encounter a new or scary situation? Everyone does because it’s ideal! The simple “Orient to your Human” game taught in Chapter Three will be very effective at teaching even young puppies how to make eye contact voluntarily.

“This silly game will become a great barometer for tracking your dog’s mental state during yoru socialization field trips. If you’re playing this game in a parking lot, and he feels the need to keep checking around him instead of focusing now hat he knows will get him an immediate treat, it’s an early indicator that he’s not really comfortable int his environment–and we get insight before we ask for cued behaviors which will fail, or try to initiate a challenging encounter.”

Social, Civil and Savvy: Training and Socializing Puppies to become the Best Possible Dogs, Chapter Three: The Basics – pg. 31. Laura VanArendonk Baugh CPDT-KA KPACTP

Finally, everyone who owns a dog knows what a good thing a reliable recall is. This is something puppies need to start learning early on, and the benefits are invaluable. Imagine being able to call your puppy away from another dog without having to pull on the leash, put a treat in front of the puppy’s face, or call multiple times. That’s what Laura’s method is all about, and it builds on what the puppy has already learned: targeting and orienting.

“Make sure you reinforce well enough that there’s never a question of whether it was worth coming to you instead of staying where he was. This is where I break out the seriously tasty treats, like cheese or roast meats or hot dogs, in many tiny pieces. I like to overpay recalls and build wealth in my reinforcement account, in case I ever need to make an emergency withdrawal.”

Social, Civil and Savvy: Training and Socializing Puppies to become the Best Possible Dogs, Chapter Three: The Basics – pg. 34. Laura VanArendonk Baugh CPDT-KA KPACTP

Favorite Quote

We like how Laura sums up the result she wants from her socialization efforts in this quote.

“I want a dog to behave rationally and proactively about any new stimulus and situation and I want him to act intentionally and with confidence.”

We all want dogs who don’t behave crazily and aren’t scared to live life! Don’t worry if you’re a little confused about socialization. Laura takes the time to explain precisely what socialization is and what it isn’t. She shows you what ideal socialization practices look like; however, she doesn’t cover every possible situation or difficulty puppy owners might experience. The information in “Social, Civil, and Savvy” is meant to be personalized to your puppy and your situation.

Why We Think You Should Read This Book!

If you’d like a puppy who is brave and happy at home and in public – because who doesn’t want to take their pups with them? – this book will show you what to do!

We know you don’t want a reactive fearful puppy or dog to take on walks, and Laura will tell you how to avoid reactivity and build confidence in your pup.

We also believe you will enjoy life with your puppy (or dog!) more when you teach the skills discussed in “Social, Civil, and Savvy.” The skills you’ll both learn will make life at home happier and easier too!

Are you a foster home for rescue puppies and dogs? It’s obvious that well-socialized puppies and dogs with a bit of training under their belt will adjust to their new homes better. Plus, they’ll be easier to place in permanent homes! Adult and adolescent rescue dogs often lack socialization and need rehabilitation for various reasons. The concepts in “Social, Civil, and Savvy” are perfect for keeping these dogs safe, relaxed, thinking, and learning.

Are you raising or training a working dog, such as a service, therapy, search and rescue, or even a sport dog? Your dog will need the thinking skills, behaviors, confidence, and experience this book can show you how to give him for a successful career!

– Cassy Kay and Alexis Ivy


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