How to Properly Socialize Your Dog
- Yuruani Olguin
- On March 17, 2016
Owners who properly socialize their dogs from an early age reap the benefits during their dog’s lifetime. Socialization is crucial in order to prevent serious behavioral issues. Many dogs that are relinquished to shelters were not properly socialized. This is very tragic considering how easy it is to socialize a dog.
The first three months of a puppy’s life are crucial. All owners should make extra efforts to properly socialize their pups from the first day the pup arrives to his new home. During this period, it is crucial that puppies develop positive associations to different dogs, people, and situations in order to be desensitized to these in the future.
It is important to expose your dog to all different kinds of people. Exposing your dog to people of different ages, sizes and gender will prove to be very beneficial. It is also important for your dog to interact with people in uniform, people using wheelchairs or crutches as well as people wearing hats or hoodies. Be sure your pup has the opportunity to interact with these people in a positive way. If you see a person who wants to greet your dog, give them a treat to give to your pooch. If you repeat this with many different strangers, your dog will soon associate the presence of strangers as something very positive. Be sure to also expose your puppy to children. Children generally have higher energy levels and are more prone to scream and run, so it is important for your puppy to be exposed to them. Be sure you tell the children how to properly interact with your puppy to avoid a negative experience for your dog.
Make sure you also desensitize your puppy to being handled. It is important to pick your pup up and feel inside his ears, touch his paws, nose, inside his mouth, tail and all over his body. This should be done by various people throughout the day. While your dog is being handled, be sure to give him treats as a reward. This will be extremely helpful during your dog’s visits to the vet and groomer.
Once your puppy has had all his necessary vaccines, arrange to have play dates with different dogs. This will be beneficial to continue the socialization process and also to tire your pup out, who as a young puppy will have plenty of energy.
While this may seem like an easy process, it is important to make a conscious effort to do this on a daily basis with your puppy. Desensitizing your dog at a young age will prove to be much easier than counterconditioning an older dog with negative associations to people or other dogs.