Socialize Your Puppy or Adult Dog
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[PLEASE READ: How Do I Socialize My Puppy? ]
Socialization is a lifelong process by which a dog develops a bond with a human, identifies itself as part of a human family, and develops relationships with people and animals. Puppies that aren’t socialized turn out to be abnormally fearful and/or aggressive as adults. A lack of socialization is no different than subjecting a dog to severe neglect. It is a form of abuse. Generally, when dog trainers refer to “socialization”, they are also referring to the non-social experiences a dog must also encounter as a puppy for the adult dog to be well adjusted. I’m using this broader term of “socialization” to include relationships as well as other such experiences.
If you want your puppy to turn out to be a well adjusted adult, he/she must be exposed to a wide variety of non-threatening sights, sounds, people, animals, places and interesting experiences. They must also imprint and bond to people and animals, otherwise they will be permanently less able to relate to new social situations. There is disagreement on how old your puppy should be before being adopted into a human family. The ideal range to adopt a puppy is no less than 8, and no more than 12, weeks of age. You should then, purposely, socialize your puppy, every day if possible, from 8 weeks to 16 weeks of age.
HOWEVER, forced socialization, or introduction of strangers as this article describes, onto some dogs can backfire. Some breeds, and some individual dogs, are known for not being interested in being involved with other dogs or people other than their families. It is very important to study the breed to know how to proceed.
This is where you might need the help of a dog behaviorist. I had a student that purchased an 8 week old black Labrador Retriever from a breeder. As I got to know the dog, it became apparent that something wasn’t right. When the puppy first saw you, it might come over to say Hi, then he would go lay somewhere across the room away from you. He would get away from being petted. Now, some breeds do this naturally and some don’t. My Bouvier, Kate, was that way. She would come over to greet, then she would go and lay in the most strategic spot in the room where she could monitor what was happening. She was a natural guard dog, and so she would naturally place herself in a watchful position that allowed her the best view of who was coming and going. On the other hand, I’ve seen puppies that won’t come over and greet at all, and will hide in corners, behind couches, and under furniture and growl if you try to touch them. This is not a good sign. This is a very fearful dog. If your puppy is doing this for the first couple of days, and it isn’t getting better, especially with other family members or friends, take the puppy back and exchange it for another one. Then, I’ve owned a couple of Fila Brasilieros. They bond quickly to their family, and don’t want to get to know strangers the older they get. That is normal for the breed. Then, there are aloof breeds. They don’t like too much cuddling, social interaction. Some Chow Chows can be this way. They will be affectionate to their family and household pets, but after a while, they’ve had enough and then they get irritated if you or another animal keep forcing social interaction on them. This has a lot to do with the dog bites we hear about with kids and Chows. Chows need a break after play, and the kids need to go and find something else to do. The Canaan Dog is aloof with strangers, keeping distance from them. I’ve met any number of dogs that were pretty much indifferent to me because they didn’t know me. They weren’t friendly. They weren’t unfriendly. They just didn’t care to interact. Pekingese can be this way, too, sometimes bonding to only one person in the family, and really not responding to a lot of affection, not seeming to care.
With the black Lab, his behavior was not typical of the breed, so I had the owner enroll the puppy immediately into socialization classes, and having her take her puppy everywhere. It took several months of work to get this puppy to accept affection. With my Bouvier, nothing was going to stop her from going on guard after the greetings were over. So, there was no need to do anything. She would have been irritated if I had forced her to be something she was not, and put her in conflict between getting forced affection she didn’t want and her appetite to guard the property and family. With my Filas, I socialized them heavily. My first male didn’t like strangers very soon after I brought him home, and would become highly aggressive and try to attack. By 6 months of age, there was no way to socialize him with strangers. My second Fila was friendly to strangers until he was about a year old, then he started becoming explosively aggressive to some strangers. He wasn’t afraid. His behavior was normal for the breed. I learned a lot about dogs from owning Filas. They are really not dogs for urban environments, they are best if they can remain home to guard the property, and they really weren’t created to be pets. They are a working guard breed. Ignore my advice at your peril. Don’t get one unless you live in a very rural area where you need a guard dog, and you have a way to prevent the dog from interacting with people the dog doesn’t know. With respect to the Chows and other aloof breeds, you have to know when to tell other people to leave the dog alone. As aloof breeds get older, they will sometimes use aggression in order to be left alone. The same dog that was playing in the morning can then become surly by the afternoon, just wanting peace and some comfort.
It is NOT a good idea to push strangers (people or dogs) onto some types of dogs, but rather to allow them to see strangers as being non-threatening and a normal part of life. Forcing a dog that wants nothing to do with strangers just makes them defensive and more aggressive in future encounters. On the other hand, patient strangers who will allow the puppy to get to know them is a good idea. The idea is to have each puppy socialization experience be a happy one. No one ever discusses this when talking about socialization or introductions because most trainers are automatons who perform certain actions and rituals with all dogs, not thinking about what they are doing or researching deeper into the concepts of what they are trying to apply. The only reason to force strangers on an aloof dog is to make the dog MORE wary of strangers, so that they will be more likely to act aggressively towards them in future encounters. On the other hand, if you avoid socializing the aloof puppy, the dog will be even more wary and/or resentful of strangers as an adult. Thus, you can and should socialize aloof puppies, but be ever more watchful and diligent to ensure the puppy is seeing the encounters as being enjoyable. Group settings where the puppy can play with dogs that are known to play well and fairly is the best environment to introduce your pup to other dogs. Some dog breeds were never meant to be sociable pets, especially some of the giant territorial guarding, and flock guarding, breeds. They are working dogs, and a highly social, mobile, busy life will increase their stress and make them more likely to be aggressive and unmannerly as adolescents and adults. It is FOOLISH for most people to select a pet dog that has an aloof temperament. Pet dogs are required to interact peaceably and pleasantly with other dogs and strange people in public settings. The more a dog like this meets other people and dogs, the more it growls and eventually snaps at these forced encounters. It is important to avoid adopting breeds that are known to be aloof, if you want to make them into pets. Read the temperament description of the breed you are considering before you adopt any dog.
You will also head off a lot of potential problems if you start formal lessons before your puppy is 5 months old. Some people wait until the problem is almost unmanageable, or the dog is becoming dangerous, before they decide they need to train their dog. For most puppies, you can begin formal training in group classes at 16 weeks of age, and private classes at 12 weeks of age. Some puppies, depending upon the breed, can be younger that these guidelines, but others should be as much as 20 weeks of age before you start formal lessons. After evaluating a puppy, a good trainer can tell you if your puppy is ready to start lessons. I started formal lessons with my Doberman, Dillon, when he was 9 weeks old. Oh, and yes, untrained adult dogs can be trained! I do it every day, but it is much easier to do things properly from the very start instead of having to unravel problems in an adult dog. This is also why I object to group classes for some dogs: they take too long to complete the training, and most people quit programs that take longer than 6 weeks to accomplish. For some tough dogs, you need to finish Basic Obedience before the dog is 1 year old, otherwise the dog will be dangerous to train. For example, I know of a dog that was spoiled (untrained) by his first owners. They allowed him to become an adult without any formal lessons or manners. By the time he reached 5 years old, they became afraid of him. He was too far gone for them to do this on their own without a professional trainer. They had to sell him, and he needed to be trained by the new owner with the help of a professional. He was at the point where he would bite them if they tried to correct him. When he went to his new home, he bit her when she tried to correct him. He wasn’t a bad dog, he was a dog that was untrained. This could have been prevented if they hadn’t let things get beyond their ability to control. He had been allowed to become a brat, and he was then too strong and big for his original owners to control (they could have hired a professional, but then again, it says something about these people that they would rather let the dog get out of control or to sell him instead of taking responsibility and training him. I bet these folks were what I call Mommys and Daddies, who see a dog as a furry human baby. Even my Doberman would occasionally bare his teeth at me (after all, he was a man working dog, and these breeds are supposed to be this way) when I corrected his willfulness, but I’m not the type to be afraid or worried. I am an experienced dog owner, I didn’t abuse him, and I suppressed his aggression towards me because I became his Master by diligently socializing, training, supervising and leading him all of his life. I also purposely purchased a dog with proper temperament. He was not a danger to me or to any friendly person. He was also especially trustworthy with children and puppies
Here is a checklist of things you can and should do with your puppy.
Along with the Socialization, I highly recommend that you enroll in my Puppy FastStart Program. The early puppy training, in combination with proper socialization, will get you the best results. Trainers ALWAYS start training their pups from the very first day – think about that for a moment.
Your puppy should be exposed to everything the adult dog will be expected to work and live around, except the experiences must be significantly less intense. Keep these experiences happy and fun; and don’t do things that shock your puppy or dog and terrify them. The puppy must perceive the experiences as being good. If you expose the puppy at a young age to many novel experiences, they will be better able to adapt and deal with them as adults.
Adult dogs also need lifetime socialization. I have met many dogs that became unsocialized because of isolation and neglect. This either is a result of people becoming too absorbed in their own lives, so they lose interest in their dogs, or their adolescent dog starts snarling and barking at strangers and other animals, so the owners get embarrassed and stop taking their dogs places. You have to continue taking dogs in public throughout their lives for them to be well adjusted.
HOW TO SOCIALIZE YOUR PUPPY
I work with many dogs that are afraid of people, places or things. It’s a hassle to own a fearful dog. Some of this is a result of poor breeding, and all of the socialization in the world can’t completely overcome poor genetics. The rest are fearful because of improper socialization, traumatic experiences and/or poor training. You feel bad for the dog because the dog is so stressed out that it can’t cope with normal, everyday events. With some fearful dogs, you have to significantly alter any interactions with your dog, to prevent the dog from running away or biting someone.
In some cases, the dogs are fearful because they have weak temperaments and are easily conditioned to become fearful. Breeds that combine intelligence, timidity, pain sensitivity are prime candidates for becoming biters. They make quick associations between events and aversive consequences. I’ve seen this with Chihuahuas. In other cases, the dog has developed fears because of a lack of socialization, especially during the first 16 weeks of life. By purposefully socializing your dog, you will be able to prevent your dog from developing social anxieties and phobias.
Many books will tell you that the socialization process is over by the time that a dog is 16 weeks old, but they are wrong. Socialization continues throughout the life of the dog, however the dog is most malleable during the first 16 weeks of life, somewhat malleable during the remainder of puppyhood (which in some breeds might be until the dog is 4 to 5 years old), and is able to be influenced somewhat when the dog is an adult. When the socialization process goes wrong, the puppy will have an improper view of people, and this can result in numerous behavioral and stress-related physical problems. YOU MUST INTENSELY SOCIALIZE YOUR PUPPY BEFORE IT IS 16 WEEKS OLD (STARTING AT 8 WEEKS OF AGE). YOU MUST NOT WAIT. YOU MUST BALANCE THE RISK THAT YOUR DOG MIGHT GET A DISEASE WITH THE RISK THAT YOU WILL CREATE A FEARFUL DOG IF YOU DON’T SOCIALIZE YOUR PUPPY. Yes, there is a risk that your pup could get sick by socializing it before all the vaccinations are completed. But, if you don’t socialize your pup before 16 weeks of age, you could end up with a dangerous dog. Socialization can and should, for most breeds, involve commencement of Basic Obedience training by the time the pup is 16 weeks of age.
Ninety five percent of the time you spend with your young puppy (under 4 months of age) should be focused on manners, house training, and socialization. The other five percent should be formal training. Always have treats with you wherever you take your puppy. Food overcomes fear and makes the situation seem positive to the dog. Also use lots of sweet talk, handling, and gentle play to help your dog, regardless of age, get acquainted with you and your world. End every socialization session on a high point.
It’s always difficult to find areas in which to safely and legally socialize, teach and train a dog. Scout out your town and neighboring towns for dog friendly areas. I would prefer that you’d take your new dog to doggie daycare for their initial dog socialization. The dogs there will be pre-screened and supervised, and your dog will be put in appropriate play groups. If that is not available, then you can consider going to off leash parks. I like and don’t like off leash parks. It really depends on the people and dogs that go there. It is a good idea to scope out an off leash park and see how the dogs play, and what kinds of people show up. Go there a number of times without your dog, and get a feeling for whether this is a good place for your dog. Get to know some of the people, and ask them about the park, its hours, rules, and who shows up when. People like to gossip, and you’ll learn a lot by doing a bit of advance investigation work.
Don’t expect the whole family, or some of your friends, to like your dog or to participate in the socialization process. This can be a dangerous dilemma when you pick a protection breed of dog. For example, you could be in a situation where the puppy needs to bond to the family and get to know your friends, but one person refuses to get to know the dog. This is the person that will be likely to be bitten by the adult dog. You must impress upon this person that it is in their best interests to get the puppy to know them during the first 2 weeks the puppy is home. This can be a real problem with moody teenagers or Dog Haters.
Don’t expect too much of your puppy. You are going to have to be comfortable with waiting on your puppy to become an adult. For some breeds, they aren’t adults until they are 4 to 5 years of age. Until your dog becomes and adult, you are going to have to continue the socialization process. You also can’t finish the training until your dog is an adult. Another issue will be with adolescent dogs. Adolescent dogs are going to sometimes get in scraps with other off leash dogs, usually more noise and slobber than any wounds or blood. Intact males will fight; you should assume it’s going to happen. Once you see your dog getting a bit too rowdy with other dogs, especially if you see other dogs getting more defensive towards your dog, you’ll need to enroll them in what is called a “growl class”. I host these from time to time. It is a class comprised solely of dogs that are, or are becoming, aggressive towards other dogs. You need these types of classes to head off real fights in the future. Any good dog trainer will have such classes.
Place a wide nylon buckle collar on your puppy. Check the tightness on a regular basis as the puppy grows. You should only be able to get 2 fingers under the collar, otherwise the collar could slip off in public and your puppy could run away. Get the puppy used to wearing a collar. If the puppy cannot be directly supervised by you, then it should be in a kennel or a crate so it can’t learn anything on its own, so it can’t be hurt, and so you can house train the puppy properly. When the puppy is out of the crate, it should be directly supervised by you. You are going to show it what it must learn, and shelter it from danger and dangerous people.
It’s going to be hard to find safe and clean places to take a puppy if you live in a city. You’re going to have to do the best that you can.
If you have multiple dogs, and other pets, you should let the pup interact with them every day. However, make sure the pup bonds to YOU instead of the other dogs! Spend lots of individual time (at least 50% of the pups waking hours, until the pup is 6 months old) with the pup every day.
Crate train and house train the puppy. An adult dog can be in a crate for up to 4 hours at a time before they need to get out and move around. An adult dog can be in a kennel up to 10 hours a day, but will need more exercise and time with you once out of the kennel to balance out the isolation and lack of exercise. Do the house training properly from the start, otherwise, you might have problems for the rest of the life of your dog!
Your puppy will need to regularly play with other dogs for the first 3 years of life. Puppies shouldn’t be any older, or much larger, than your puppy. You’ll want your puppy to get used to being around other strange dogs. You start this with puppy play.
After socialization sessions, expect your puppy will need to sleep about 1 ½ to 2 hours.
Expect puppy playfulness. The puppy won’t be able to pay attention to anything for a long period of time. Their minds wander as they soak up all they are seeing and experiencing.
Expect the puppy to be mouthy (nipping). Warn strangers and their kids before they pet the puppy. You don’t want someone slapping your puppy. You also don’t want an accusation that your puppy bit someone, and have your puppy seized by animal control. In some jurisdictions, animal control might seize a puppy that bites if a complaint is filed! Always warn first and allow the other person to opt not to touch the puppy. You must warn children and the parents, not just the children. Children aren’t held responsible by the law for their consent, but adult parents and guardians are. The solution is generally to supervise the situation and everything goes fine. If you don’t know what to do, then you need to hire a trainer to show you. Even when you commence training, many pups will enter into a test of wills with you, or resent being made to obey, and will be mouthy (nipping) in order to avoid doing simple obedience exercises. These issues need to be worked out patiently. This kind of thing is normal. You must NOT lose your temper with these types of pups, or give up on the training. This kind of thing needs to be sorted out. Getting this sorted out early will make your long term relationship with your dog much better. I have seen people give up on lessons, thinking that the situation will go away on its own as the pup gets older. This is rarely the case, and only allows the pup to get bigger, stronger and more determined. It is easier to work on this when the pup is small and more malleable, than to wait and let the pup become older, stronger, more willful and unruly. It is still possible to work with adult dogs that have become serious bullies or brats, but it isn’t any fun and often then requires a lot more force than I prefer to use. Such adult dogs can actually become quite dangerous if you lose your cool and try to force them to obey. If you don’t properly train them and deal with the confrontations, things can quickly get dangerous. Since they have been getting their way for so long, they can now back up their opinions with big, sharp teeth.
Expect that the puppy might throw up after a lot of activity, which can be life threatening to some breeds and types of dogs. It’s best to socialize a puppy before meals, not right after them. If the vomit looks strange, then get the puppy to the veterinarian immediately!
Don’t let your puppy learn to be a digger! If you leave the puppy in the back yard unsupervised, the puppy will learn to dig. This is extremely important with certain breeds that are known to be diggers. The back yard isn’t safe, so use a crate or proper kennel when you can’t supervise your pup. I know of puppies that have died being left unsupervised in a back yard – I never even got to meet the pups because they were dead before the lessons even started.
As the weeks progress, your puppy will start to figure out how things work. They will learn to get into cupboards, through doors, around gates, and into blocked-off areas. Your puppy will need extra supervision in these areas so you can distract them into other activities. You don’t want them to develop a habit of getting into dangerous areas.
You are going to get tired. Watch your energy level. If you get too tired, then you will become quick to anger. You might do the wrong thing and improperly correct your puppy. Keep yourself on a schedule to ensure you are eating properly, getting time off (by trading off your duties with another family member), and getting enough sleep. If you are doing the socialization right, you will get tired! A good trick is to keep the puppy awake for a while, so the puppy will sleep when you sleep. It might be a few weeks or even months before your puppy can sleep the whole night without waking you up.
Expect the puppy to whine and cry the first couple of nights. They might cry in the middle of the night, when you leave the room, or when the family goes to bed. This will pass if you don’t make a big deal about it. IT IS OK TO COMFORT A YOUNG PUP. If your pup doesn’t like the crate, then don’t force them in and make them panic! It is easier to acclimate a young pup to a crate than waiting until the pup is over 16 weeks of age. Don’t postpone this. Pups need to learn to be alone at an early age, otherwise they are too dependant when they get older.
Keep the puppy from becoming afraid of anything or anyone, yet, take the puppy everywhere you can, to as many new places as you can, every day you can. Be careful to not let your puppy get injured running along slippery floors, off ledges and down stairs! It will take a few months for the puppy to develop coordination. A broken shoulder, hip, elbow or ankle is extremely serious!
Food overcomes fear. Feed the puppy small bits of treats in new places and when meeting new people. Don’t fill the puppy up with treats. Use small, tasty bits, just large enough for the puppy to be interested in them during stressful new experiences. Let the puppy’s appetite be your guide to measuring its fear level. A fearful or stressed dog won’t eat a treat that it would otherwise gobble and swallow at home. Go only as close to the feared thing or person so that the puppy will eat the treat at the same time. Eventually, you will be able to get closer and closer to that thing or person.
Avoid confrontations with aggressive dogs. Find other comparably aged puppies, or very friendly and gentle adult dogs to play with. If you have the time, for dogs under 4 months of age, it would be ideal to limit dog socialization (with other friendly dogs) to no more, and no less, than about 30 minutes a day. Don’t be so polite to people that you ignore what is going on with your puppy. Get out of there if you see another dog bullying or threatening your puppy. After 4 months of age, I prefer to use full days at doggie daycares, 7 or 8 hour stretches of group socialization, several times per week.
Have your puppy meet 100 friendly strangers, plus all of your friends and family, before the puppy is16 weeks old. Go to clean and disease free areas during this time. Your young puppy is still susceptible to certain dog diseases. It’s a tricky balance. You need to socialize the puppy, but you need to keep your puppy healthy. There isn’t a really good solution. Let the puppy go to the person, not the person to the puppy. You want to encourage approach behaviors, not avoidance behaviors. It is a mistake to make any dog wary of friendly strangers in public, even if the dog is to be used as a professional guard or personal protection dog. You want the dog to be able to distinguish the difference between the behavior of a normal person and a bad person. If the puppy meets lots of normal people, then the adult will know when a person is acting weird, and will be able to alert and protect you. Don’t force the greeting on the puppy. Let the puppy warm up to the stranger. Give the stranger a treat to give the puppy. After the puppy has eaten the treat, then the stranger can pet the puppy on its chest or back. This is the least threatening greeting to your puppy.
Find a way to take your puppy to safely explore a forest, desert, grassy plain, mown grass field, and beach. Be sure to supervise your puppy. I would recommend that your puppy drag a long, light cord, attached to its buckle collar, so that you can grab the cord and rescue the puppy if it approaches something dangerous.
Your puppy will be better off if each family member spends personal time, alone, with the puppy as it is being socialized. Take turns. Supervise the kids from a distance when doing this, to prevent them from doing something foolish.
Take daily, brief car rides with your puppy. Make them happy times. Put down a towel where the puppy will be. Have the puppy on a leash. For the first couple of days, just have the car running and sit in the driveway with the puppy in the car with you. Then, take short trips around the block, driving very slowly, making no sudden starts, stops, or sharp turns. Don’t let the puppy fall off a seat and get hurt. Don’t teach the puppy to ride in your lap, or to put its head out the window. Never put a puppy in the back of a pickup truck! Lots of dogs die that way every year.
For the first week home, hand feed the puppy one of its meals every day. You want your hands to be associated with the delivery of good things. Lots of dogs are hand shy, meaning they avoid the owner’s hands, either because they have been hit, or are just wary of them. This is part of the process of teaching your dog to approach and work with you closely. This will help later on in teaching the obedience commands.
You can do some supervised agility work. Take the puppy to a child’s playground at a park or school. Teach the puppy to negotiate over and under obstacles, walk on strange surfaces, go up and down stairs, etc. DON’T EVER LET THE PUPPY OUT OF YOUR SIGHT OR LET YOUR PUPPY GET HURT!
Let your puppy explore and search in safe areas in forests and natural fields. The puppy should be dragging a line so you can rescue the puppy if need be. Be careful of steep drop-offs, rushing rivers, etc. The goal here is to make the puppy comfortable with and used to being outdoors, seeing wild birds and animals, and to teach the puppy to keep an eye on you. Once the puppy becomes bored and too tired to go on, take the puppy home. You want the puppy to learn to not be so excited outdoors that it can’t pay attention to you when teaching basic obedience. Outdoor sights and smells are very distracting to a dog. You need to become more interesting to the puppy than inanimate objects and wild animals. If you are a hunter, then you will reverse this process somewhat, not letting the puppy get bored, building the puppy’s desire to find certain types of game in the field, while still getting the puppy used to being outdoors and keeping an eye on you.
Begin regular grooming and healthcare: Daily teeth cleaning, weekly inspections and cleaning of ears, regular brushing, weekly nail clipping, etc. Many adult dogs won’t let you groom them because they weren’t made comfortable with the process when puppies. I recommend working with a groomer from the very start. I don’t recommend using a vet to do the grooming; they are often too rough with the puppies.
Present the picture of a loving, firm, fair, and kind leader.
Don’t allow the puppy to form habits that you wouldn’t want your adult dog doing. For example, you don’t want to encourage a puppy to wrestle, nip and mouth you, because you’ll really have a monster when the puppy grows up and starts biting you to control you. Never hit a dog for nipping or mouthing you! Hitting is a sure way to turn your dog into a serious hand biter. IF YOU ARE HAVING TROUBLE WITH THE NIPPING AND JUMPING, THEN PLEASE SET UP A PUPPY LESSON.
DON’T MAKE YOUR DOG AFRAID OF CARS AND TRUCKS. Walk at a distance away, towards car and truck traffic, with your puppy on your left side. Do not walk very near traffic or let cars come up from behind. I’ve seen a lot of dogs that were made afraid of traffic. It is less scary to have traffic, that you can see, coming at you than it is to have it coming up from behind you, that you cannot see. As the puppy matures, around 6 months of age, then gradually expose the puppy to traffic coming up from behind on your walks.
No attack games! Don’t sic the puppy on anyone in play! Don’t encourage people to growl or bark at your dog to get an aggressive reaction out of your puppy. Don’t tease the puppy, especially don’t tease a dog with it’s food bowl or chew toys. If you do, you are improperly teaching the puppy to attack people, especially family members. ALSO, DON’T LET YOUNG CHILDREN HURT OR HARASS THE PUPPY!!!!!!
Establish a schedule. Dogs love routine. A predictable lifestyle makes for a calmer and more confident adult dog.
PUPPY TRAINING SHOULD BE COMBINED WITH YOUR SOCIALIZATION PROGRAM.
Sam Basso is a professional dog trainer and behaviorist, in the Phoenix/ Scottsdale metropolitan area. He’s known for being fun, kind, intelligent, and humane. Sam Basso has a unique personal touch. He has appeared on his own TV show, been a guest radio expert, gives seminars, publishes a dog related blog, does rescue volunteering, and is active in promoting animal welfare and fair dog laws.