Useful Tips for Socializing Your Dog
Well-socialized dogs grow up to be friendly and happy in the company of people and other animals and make successful pets. Dogs are taken out regularly can take different situations in stride and enjoy going anywhere with their owners. A dog can be taught to be more social at any time, but the earlier in a dog’s life, the better. Jet Pet Resort has put together a list of helpful tips to make socializing your dog a little easier.
Socializing a dog involves more than just taking your pet to the dog park and unclasping the leash. The end goal is to have a friendly dog that is confident. You will need to expose your dog to many different stimuli, including people, other animals, loud noises and unpredictable movements.
The Sooner the Better!
The younger the dog, the easier it will be to socialize. This is because, as puppies get older, they become more cautious when faced with new experiences. However, it is never too late to socialize your dog. Older dogs that have experienced isolation, neglect or trauma will need more time to develop confidence or trust, but patience by you will improve their skills.
Take a Class
A group dog training class will expose your dog to other people and other dogs in a safe and structured environment. There are many classes available for socializing puppies and teaching older dogs basic commands.
Most dogs end up at shelters because they have never been taught basic obedience skills. A dog training class will help you and your dog develop a successful relationship.
Outside Sounds, Sights and Smells
Give your dog an opportunity to become familiar with a wide range of different sounds, sights and scents. Bring your dog to noisy, busy places. Shopping centres, light construction sites and recreational sporting events like a kid’s baseball or soccer game are a good start. With your dog on the leash, walk confidently along the perimeter of these areas. Offer an occasional treat when your dog is calm. If your dog is a bit shy or nervous, keep these outings short and upbeat. Extend your outings and increase the level of interaction as the dog gains confidence. If your dog is socializing well with humans, familiarization with different environments should happen naturally. Check out some of the best activities to do with your dog in Vancouver.
Watch for Signs of Fear
During socialization watch for signs that your dog is fearful or scared. Look to be reassuring but never force your dog to approach anything that frightens it. Do not crouch to comfort it – it will make you look nervous. Stand tall and offer it a treat to distract it from whatever it may be frightened by. Remember, you are there to guide and reassure. Your socializing efforts should be rewarding for both of you!
Meeting other Dogs in Public
When your dog approaches other dogs, try not to restrain him forcefully. Rather let both dogs cautiously, but confidently come together to sniff and meet. Watch both carefully for any aggressive posturing and remember dogs are by nature pack animals and generally like meeting other dogs. Remember, When you pull back on the leash, it causes your dog to assume an unintentionally aggressive posture that can be misunderstood by other dogs.
Socializing at Home
Dogs need to be socialized at home, too. Isolating your dog in a room or alone in the yard will only worsen behaviour problems. The time you dedicate to socializing your pet at home will make for a majority of its socializing experience. Talk confidently and calmly with your dog. Reward good behaviour with treats to reinforce a positive action. Introduce your dog to guests as they arrive at your home. Allow guests to help you by offering a treat for good behaviour. If you have regular guests or visitors such as extended family, the postal worker or delivery service, make sure that you introduce your dog and have them become comfortable with these people.
A Special Note:
If your dog constantly growls, snaps or displays other aggressive behaviours, speak to a professional. Socializing an aggressive dog takes specialized and qualified help. Do not put yourself, your dog or others in a dangerous situation. Canine aggression can certainly be managed, but it requires expert advice.
Some Additional Key Points:
- Meeting adults and children should be the most important item in your socialization program. The more people your dog meets and plays with, the more friendly and sociable your dog will become.
- Socialization involves lots of pleasant encounters with adults, children, other animals and different environments.
- It is easy but does take regular effort and patience.
- It makes the difference between a fearful dog that may bite and a happy, outgoing dog that loves people.
- A friendly, happy dog with few behaviour problems is likely to have a longer, more successful life than a fearful, aggressive and difficult one.
- With puppies, it should happen early, intensively between three and 12 weeks, and continue until the puppy is a year old. Intensive work may be needed for older puppies to make up for the lost time.
- When socializing older dogs, especially larger, stronger breeds, try using a harness rather than a collar. While proper leash techniques are the best way to control your dog, a harness may reduce pulling.
- During socialization, a dog should be protected from a fearful encounter, and never overwhelmed with too much at once.
Jet Pet Resort is a specialty boarding solution for pet owners who are travelling for business or leisure. Jet Pet Resort requires that all guests are socialized pets as our guests spend the majority of their time interacting with a variety of other dogs and pet care specialists. Well-socialized dogs have absolutely no problem adjusting to life at Jet Pet Resort. In fact, getting them to willfully leave is the hardest part of the stay! The next time you need a place to keep your special pet – for a day, a week or even a month, remember that Jet Pet Resort is your best alternative for professional dog boarding in the Greater Vancouver area.