Socialization for dogs is all about ensuring they have adequate and consistent contact with other people and animals from any early age. This will ensure that dogs become comfortable around other people and animals and react to them in a friendly or positive way. If you start from a very early age, it can be much easier than when a dog is older. Puppies are easier to train and teach as they are still young enough to be looking to you for guidance. It’s also just easier to learn properly to begin with than to try and change a reaction later and its definitely true for dogs.
It is so important for a happy life with a dog to socialize them from the start. Some of the reasons socialization is so important include:
- Having a calm dog around family gatherings or parties with lots of people versus having a dog who is uncomfortable around people and cowers, barks, or runs away due to anxiety.
- Having a dog who can go on a walk without barking, lunging, or pulling to get at other dogs you come across.
- Having a dog who can go off leash at a dog park and who enjoys or simply ignores other dogs and isn’t fearful or ready to attack
- Having a dog that can be around small pets without worrying about causing them harm
Ways to Socialize your Pup
There are plenty of ways to socialize a puppy or dog even if you are not that social yourself. It is better to take the time and put in the extra effort, at least to begin with when you first get a new pup. Then you can do refreshers every couple months or so if your dog(s) haven’t been around people or other animals in a while. Some of the things you can do include:
- Taking your pup to the local pet store, and just taking a walk through, even if you don’t plan on buying anything. People will likely stop you to pet your pup, which gets them comfortable with people. You also might come across other dogs and it gives your pup a chance to see that its normal to be calm.
- Take your pup for a walk in high traffic areas like a downtown or business district, on a lunch hour. Again you’ll find plenty of people and the hustle and bustle of traffic will be good for your pup. They might seem scared at first, but remain calm and your pup will adjust.
- You can always enroll your pup in training classes which will introduce them to people and other pets
- Attend local pet events where you’ll find its dog overload! Even if your pup is worried or scared at first, they’ll get over it just because of the sheer amount of dogs, and the fact that they aren’t acting like yours (if yours is acting anxious/upset/barking).
Your dog will learn from you, and if you are anxious or worried around other dogs/people/small animals, that’s the vibe your giving off. You have to make sure that you are not putting that energy out there for your pup to feel. The more you expose your dog to anything and everything as a puppy, the less likely you’ll have an uncontrolled response when they are an adult.