This term tends to be thrown in your face a lot if you’re a dog owner. Everyone from breeders, rescue personnel, and veterinarians will tell you to socialize your dog. This is very true, proper socialization is vitally important to raising a well balanced, well mannered dog. The problem is that many people are confused by the term.
Proper Socialization: Is teaching a dog to not react to stimuli by desensitizing him to every day things.
This means the more experiences your dog has in a good, positive way, they less they will react to things that are unfamiliar with them. All of these experiences should be introduced at a pace the dog is comfortable with. Do not force a scared dog, let him take his time and become comfortable with the situation at his own pace. A dog (and especially a puppy) should always appear happy and relaxed during socialization.
Another way of thinking about proper socialization is to literally desensitize your dog to regular sounds and occurrences. Things like cars, skate boards, and bikes. Also people who are different: short, tall, wearing a hat or glasses, etc.
Improperly socialized dogs tend to be over-reactive or shy. They withdraw from people and sometimes flinch or freeze. Many improperly socialized dogs suffer from anxiety. Poor socialization can also lead to aggression.