How to Socialize your Dog?

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How to Socialize your Dog?

Dog Socialization

           The first 12 weeks of a puppy is very important period of its life as it helps shape its future. Many dog owners feel socialization is just about introducing your dog to other dogs, but it is much more than that. It is all about creative happy memories around the environment, making your pup realize that the world is safe, people and dogs alike. Socialization is very important for puppies as little experience tend to affect a puppy’s behavior later in life. So, if you are thinking of getting a puppy or you have one already, helping them get acquainted with their environment is needed to ensure safe living with your pup. The main goal of socialization is the adapt your dog to:

  • People of different races.
  • People of different height and sizes.
  • Dog of different breeds.
  • Sounds, smells, and sensation.
  • Different places.

When is the best time to socialize your puppy?

          The first three months of your pup’s life is the best to time to expose him/her to new experiences. Although most dog owners feel that socialization will be too much for their dog to handle, but no need to worry as your puppy’s brain is capable of processing and accepting these experiences at this age. Dog owners should try as much as possible to expose their pup to many positive experiences as they can, since this will pay off in the future.

Is it Important to Socialize your Puppy?

Socialization can benefit dogs of any breed, age, and size. The main reason behind socialization is to get your dog accustomed to different sounds without being apprehensive. If you live around the city filled with cars, dogs, cats, children it is necessary to get your dog used to these sensations to avoid any accidents. Proper socialization can prevent problematic behaviors like barking, running into moving cars, anxiety, chewing, biting and fear of moving objects. It will develop your dog into a well-behaved and a happy companion.

How to socialize your puppy

Socialization of a new puppy can even begin as early as the first week of birth. The breeder will gently introduce the puppy to new sight, sounds and smell. Immediately after you bring your puppy home, you should continue the socialization through these simple steps:

Carefully introduce your puppy to new environment, people, sounds and smell.

For a new puppy everything in the surrounding is new and unusual so you should try to create positive association with every new experience. You should come up with different sounds, noise and smells and expose your pup to them. Introduce your friends and family to your dog. Here are some simple tips:

  • You can get your dog to walk on hard surface, tiles, and carpet.
  • Introduce your pup to babies and toddlers.
  • Have your pup meet a person on wheelchair.
  • Have your puppy meet a person on sunglasses, hat, cane, and umbrella.

Make every experience positive

When socializing your pup make sure you don’t overdo it, try not to push your puppy beyond his/her limits. Make every interaction positive so be ready to give many treats, verbal praise and belly rubs. You should take the whole process slowly, one step at a time and avoid doing too much as this can be overwhelming for your dog.

Take baby steps.

Many dog owners cannot wait to get their pup wagging its tails at everyone, I mean we all love a friendly dog. But having people crowd around your dog, touching him can make him scared, nervous, and apprehensive towards strangers. So, socializing your dog with people should be done slowly. Some breeds are sensitive and may not like to be touched unnecessarily. You can get your pup acquainted with your family first before introducing him/her to your friends and other strangers.

Don’t take it too far.

You should know when the whole process is getting to your dog. If your puppy shows signs of stress and fear, you should take him/her away from the situation. Taking it slow with your pup and introducing different sound stimulations will make your dog learn faster. For safe ways on dog stimulations, you can contact your pup’s veterinarian for more advice.

Puppy classes.

Enrolling your dog in puppy classes is a great way for your dog to learn basic manners and socialize with other dogs. Puppy classes have many forms of interactions and focus more on positive reinforcement. Other safe ways to socialize your dogs is by going to stores, works, dog cafes and allowing your pup to run around your backyard.

How to socialize an adult dog

     It is not entirely possible to socialize your dog as a puppy due to many factors. Whatever the reason, your dog still deserves friends and regular interaction with his environment. Here are simple tips on how to help socialize your adult dog:

Regular dog walks with a muzzle on.

Dog walks is a great way for your dog to interact with his other dogs, people, and his surroundings. Since your dog has passed the early stage with socialization, it is ideal you walk your dog with a muzzle on. You may feel your dog is not aggressive, but it is better to be safe than sorry, and having a muzzle on doesn’t hurt.

Carefully introduce your dog to social activities.

It is advisable you use a leash and a muzzle, so help your dog observe things first. You don’t have to rush things; every activity should be introduced one step at a time. For example, instead of letting your dog run freely around the park, you should walk your dog slowly around the park with a leash on. Allow your dog watch other dogs and people play from a distance.

Use positive reinforcement.

Similar to puppy socialization training, you should attribute new experiences with positive behaviors like treats, verbal praise, walks, favorite toys. It is okay to feel frustrated at a point, but remember that you need to go on your dog’s pace or the whole training will be a waste of time. If you feel it is too much for you to handle you can contact a professional dog trainer or your vet for assistance.