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Socialization and your Pet

Posted on: March 21, 2017

Why Early Socialization is Important

 

 

Going to the store, a walk around the neighborhood, going to the dog park and so on, most dogs will venture out into the world with their owners on a regular basis. They will probably also assist in welcoming guests into your home. Since they will do these things their whole lives, it's crucial they understand basic social etiquette from an early age. Good socialization training helps ensure their own happiness and safety, as well as the well-being of every animal and human with whom they come in contact.

Embrace the Challenge

Socialization can feel like an overwhelming responsibility as a pet parent. Rather than being anxious about it, embrace the opportunity to enrich your pup's experience. You will both be much happier for having put in the effort!

Without proper socialization, you risk your dog feeling anxiety or even exhibiting aggression when confronted with new people, animals or unfamiliar situations. This can make social interaction unnecessarily stressful and even dangerous. 

An anxious or aggressive pup is not a happy pup. Because you want the best life possible for your dog, invest the time when your dog is young to ensure their future health and happiness.

Socialization At Home

Exposure is one of the key ingredients to socialization. Find as many opportunities as possible to introduce your dog to other animals and people. Inviting friends and family over to visit and desensitizing your dog to the doorbell are all good ways to acclimate your pup to frequent guests at home. 

Repetition and consistency of expectations will help your dog learn what is acceptable in each situation. Using treats and praise establish boundaries and help your dog understand the behavior you desire when guests arrive. Don't forget to "train" your guests, too. Think of them as teaching assistants, and let them know the specific goals you are working toward. 

Making Friends Out in the World

Out in the world, it's even more important that you maintain dominance and control over your pet. Going for walks on-leash and visiting off-leash dog parks are both tried-and-true methods to help with socialization. Your pup will be exposed to many new sights, smells and sounds, so keep an eye on body language and reactions. Their natural responses to social stimuli will help guide your approach in training and alert you to any areas of concern you need to focus on together.

Ensure you dog's basic understanding of commands such as sit, stay and come before turning him loose at the dog park. With all the excitement of a new environment and new friends to play with, your commands may not receive the full attention they do at home. Nevertheless, remain in control so your dog will continue to look to you for guidance and commands rather than simply running amok.