How to Properly Socialize Your Dog

How to Properly Socialize Your Dog

Animals are not necessarily instinctively social, though you may get lucky and find one that is. More often than not however, you will have to train your dog how to act and react when in the company of other animals and humans, especially if they are skittish. Whether you are socializing a puppy or an older dog, there are certain techniques that can help make the process simpler and more effective.

When to socialize your dog

Socialization of your dog is best accomplished when they are puppies, but this is not always going to happen. They may have been sick as a puppy and the vet recommended that they stay away from other dogs, or you may have adopted your dog at an older age and he never got the proper socialization at that age. Whatever the reasons, there are several ways to socialize your dog.

Consistency is the key

When your dog is a puppy, one of the easiest ways to help socialize them is to introduce them to someone new every day or so. As they are still learning and recognizing things, this is a super simple way to get them used to different people and animals without making a huge deal about it. With older dogs, you do not want to do something every day, but try something once a week; this will help your older dog get a new experience without throwing his world out of whack. Just keep it consistent so progress is not lost.

Take a long walk

One of the simplest things you can do in socializing a dog is to take them for a walk. This not only gives them the exercise they need and wears out some of their excessive energy; it gives you the opportunity to meet other dogs and owners walking as well. As you meet these other walking pairs, you can introduce yourself and your dog and help put your dog in a random social situation; this will give you the chance to show your dog how to react to new dogs and people.

Take it slow

With puppies, you may not have to worry so much about taking steps back and taking it slow. However, with older dogs, you will definitely need to take your time and start small. Start by introducing your dog to one other dog and working up the number if you so desire. Do not overwhelm you dog, especially if he is extremely antisocial. If you rush into it too quickly, you will do more harm than good.

If necessary, use gentle leader or a muzzle

If you know that your dog growls, barks, or gets a little snippy around other dogs, try using a muzzle when you are trying to socialize them. This will help in making the experience better for all involved. It will prevent biting or attacking of any kind, but it will also calm down your dog; this may help them be more open to the social situation.

The socializing of an older dog and the socializing of a puppy are two very different things. While the concept is the same, the techniques will need to be adjusted to meet the age as well as the needs of the dog. You may even have to test a few techniques before you find one that is more effective than another is.

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