Demeanor and personality are unique for every dog. Some dogs are calm and quiet while others are assertive and rambunctious. Therefore, dog socialization is crucial in preparing your dog for different situations – whether at the veterinarian’s office or dog park.
There are many benefits to socializing your dog:
- They get to enjoy more exercise
- Grooming is hassle-free
- Less fear and anxiety
- Less stress when traveling or boarding
- Vet checkups are easier
- Reduces the risk of running away
- Less aggression towards other animals and people
Benefits of socializing a puppy
Dog trainers and veterinarians recommend dog socialization at a very young age. While it is not impossible to socialize adult dogs, it is easier to do it with a puppy. Socialization in adults can take longer and might even be scarier for your canine pal. When puppies are socialized, they learn to react to different situations positively. Starting early can prevent stressful challenges down the line.
Advantages of socializing an adult dog
Socializing adult dogs is definitely achievable but can be more challenging. If dogs exhibit fear or aggression, you have to be patient as you both overcome behavioral issues. Once your dog can face these fearful situations, you can both start enjoying your walks.
How to begin dog socialization
Introducing your puppy to other dogs can expose him to infection or diseases. However, many veterinarians believe that the benefits of dog socialization outweigh these potential risks. Always check with your veterinarian to discuss your own dog for the proper age to start the socialization process with other dogs.
So, what is dog socialization? Socializing your dog means introducing them to positive new environments such as people, pets and other stimuli. This does not include letting your dog run loose at the park with strangers! Young pups can easily get overwhelmed which can lead to fearful, withdrawn behavior. Thus, experts recommend participating in a professional dog training class or doggie daycare where social skills are learned in a controlled environment.
Dog socialization involves the following:
- Teaching your puppy to accept touching different areas of their body
- Exposing your dog to new pets, places, people and situations in a safe environment
- Encouraging your pet to explore his surroundings under your supervision
- Introducing your pup to new smells, sounds and sights of daily life
- Taking your dog on car rides so they can experience new places without motion sickness
The more you introduce your dog to new stimuli, the more comfortable he will be with new experiences.
Where not to socialize your puppy
- Dog parks – these open spaces are designed for already well-socialized dogs. They are not for learning how to socialize. What seems a harmless interaction between pups can quickly escalate into a dog fight putting everyone at risk.
- County fairs – these are crowded places where your dog might get stepped on. There is also a good chance that your pup will become anxious or fearful with hordes of people.
- Concerts – although music can be soothing to dogs, amplified concert music is too loud for sensitive dog ears. The discomfort could result in whining and trying to escape which other concertgoers will not appreciate.
Start by inviting a small group of friends over
You can start socializing your puppy by inviting some close friends. Allow your pup to meet people of different ages in a calm and quiet environment. You can also create a playdate for your pooch with your friends’ well-socialized dogs or cats.
During the dog socialization process, it is crucial to stay positive. Take it slow and never force your pup to get acquainted with new experiences. Introduce new stimuli and interactions frequently but keep them brief. Dog socialization should be a fun and enjoyable experience, not something they dread or want to escape.
If you are socializing a dog who suffers from anxiety, ask your vet for advise to help during the process. For example, calming aids might be able to help him relax before getting into the car or meeting new dogs.
Dog socialization helps your pet feel comfortable when a stranger handles him. This could be the veterinarian, the groomer or family and friends. Visits to the animal clinic or trips to the dog park are more enjoyable with a socialized pet. This is especially true if socialization started at an early age.
Let Positive Paws Help You Get to Know Your Dog Better.
Do you worry about unpleasant interactions whenever you take your dog on walks? A well-socialized dog is less apt to snap at someone or chase a kid on a bicycle. Even when your dog faces unfamiliar people, pets, and places, he will react with the same confidence and positivity.
As such, animal experts recommend enrolling your pup in a professional socialization class to minimize risks. At Positive Paws Pet Training, we suggest starting dog socialization as early as possible.
We offer a four-week program that features gentle and fun techniques for learning basic behaviors. All dogs in the class are required to be up to date according to the puppy’s age and requirements by your veterinarian. In addition, your puppy will learn to sit, stay, walking on a leash, take, leave, and drop objects. Apart from socialization, our training classes address common issues such as chewing, housebreaking, and unruly behavior. Contact us if you are within a 60-mile radius of St. Charles, Missouri.