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Socializing Your Dog

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Wondering how to socialize your dog ? How do you socialize young puppies and adult dogs? When you, as a dog owner, bring a dog into your home, it’s important to find out early on how socialized he is. His initial interaction with you will tell you their general personality and reactions to stimuli – are they fearful, aggressive, friendly, cautious? Does he back away submissively when you approach or send aggressive warning signals such as raised hackles? When you take him on walks, is he nervous around different sounds and sights? Does he shy away from people or other dogs? If you see any of these signs, it’s likely he was not socialized well in his early days. Don’t worry, here are several things you can do to socialize your dog :

1. Observe Other Dogs At A Distance

  1. Go to a dog park but don’t go in – let your dog watch the other dogs and how they interact with each other
  2. Make sure that the entire observation period is positive – every time a dog comes near the fence, give your dog a treat to create a positive association with other dogs.
  3. Give your dog a toy and play with them outside the dog park to create a sense of fun and a positive association.
  4. If your dog reacts aggressively towards the dogs in the park, move further away until he is quiet.
  5. Resist jerking on the lead and yelling at your dog as this creates a negative association.

2. Go to Dog Training Classes

Speak to your trainer about any socialization issues and she will help you introduce your dog gradually to the other dogs in the class. This is a safe place for your dog to learn to interact with other dog and with other humans as well.

Introduce new people and dogs slowly

More ways to socialize your dog

Only add one person a week at the most into your dog’s life when you are initially trying to socialize them. When new people meet your dog, have them offer a treat and tell them to speak to your dog in a happy, high-pitched, yet soft, voice. Dogs naturally prefer people who speak in higher-pitched voices. Keep your dog on a leash at first but do not force him to go near the person. Let him take his time. If your dog has a history of aggression and biting, be sure to start off with a muzzle for everyone’s safety. Once your dog has learned to not fear new people, take the muzzle off. Never muzzle your dog for extended periods of time, and only use it sparingly.

3. Meetup with other dog owners and have doggy play dates

Socialize your dog ! When you feel your dog is ready to go off-leash and interact with other pups, dogs and humans, then head on over to the nearest dog park. Socialize your dog at the dog park at least once every week so that they continue to develop and maintain their social skills.

Not sure if your dog is showing signs of aggression? Check out this article: Dog Aggression Signs

When is it most important to socialize your dog: Critical Learning Periods in a Puppy’s Life

Are some dog breeds more aggressive than others? Got a ‘mean dog’? Pit-bulls, Rottweilers, German Shepherds – the psychology of breed stereotypes


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