This is one of my favorite board threads.
rethinking "popular" early socialization
Below is a post from MOD - David Winners. I think it's spot on.
The problem with "popular " socialization is that owners often barely understand what the outcome means, let alone how to establish the correct experiences for the dog to achieve that outcome. They often don't know what they want in the dog. How are they to help the dog understand what is expected of it when they don't know themselves.
My definition of socialization is teaching the dog what is normal in life. It is important for the dog to see what the world is about so it can successfully travel through it without stress or overt reaction to normal behavior.
This does not include being overwhelmed at a dog park, being forced into any situation where the pup is not confident that it is safe, forced interaction with inappropriate animals or humans, or any situation where people, including me, are behaving in an unnatural manner trying to alter a natural response from the dog.
This does include exposure to sights, sounds, surfaces, smells, temperatures and situations that will be a part of the life of the dog. There is no reason I want my dog to meet and greet total strangers like they are best of friends, so I don't expose the puppy to that situation. I show the dog that people are everywhere, and for the most part, they have no meaning to the dog. I show the dog that there are dogs of varying trustworthiness in the world, and that calmly dealing with the situation is my job and that they have nothing to fear, nor any responsibility to take charge of the situation. I show the dog that it can trust me and look to me for leadership.
Early socialization is a topic that has recently become very polarizing. Carmen mentioned Bio Sensor sensory stimulation. I have yet to form a concrete opinion on the subject because there are arguments and experiences on both sides of the debate. I think many things can be imprinted on the litter during the very impressionable period that they spend with their mother. Important things being cleanliness, communication skills, bite inhibition, spatial awareness and again, probably the most important is what normal looks like.