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Is Your Dog's Socialization Necessary?
We hear a lot about dogs that need socialization but exactly what does that mean? When it comes to your dog, socialization is simply the process of introducing your dog to the people, other dogs, and the environment around him.
Puppies VS Adult Dogs
Socializing a full grown dog is quite different from socializing a puppy. Puppies ordinarily have no trouble socializing with people or other animals especially when they are four months old or younger. Young puppies do not usually need any introduction to changing locations, as long as it is a safe environment. Helping puppies socialize is typically pretty simple and rather natural. You introduce your puppy to new things constantly and he will usually adjust with ease.
However, with an adult dog socialization can look quite different. Adult dogs have history and history creates preconceptions and fears. Therefore, improper socialization can actually have a very negative effect on your dog.
Six Guidelines To Follow:
- Steer clear of large groups. The majority of adult dogs do not like to be around a large group of other adult dogs. Dogs are very protective and territorial and having a large play group can actually cause undo stress. A dog who is typically docile can become quite aggressive if he feels threatened and one threatened dog can cause the whole group start fighting.
- Encourage your dog to stay with you. Staying by your side may seem contrary to socializing however, a properly socialized dog is not running around sniffing or bumping other people or dogs. The goal is for you dog to know how to interact with people not necessarily to get to know them personally.
- Reward your dog for good behavior. If your dog is staying with you and only reacting the way you want him to then reward him. You can use treats or head rubs or any reward that will let him know that he is acting properly.
- Recognize when your dog has had enough. It is very important to pay attention to the signs that your dog gives you. If your dog feels overwhelmed by his surroundings or is being harassed by another dog or even a person, then it is time for you to come to his defense before he growls or creates more chaos by removing him from the situation or if that is not possible, by kneeling down and comforting him on his level.
- Remain Calm. Your dog will often react to the way you handle a situation. For example, if your dog senses that you are annoyed or mad at another dog that has come to greet him then he may react to the visiting dog differently. It is important that during training you do not give your dog mixed signals about other people or dogs. Your dog needs to be able to recognize danger but, he shouldn’t be training with dangerous people or dogs. If the situation appears to be getting out of hand, try to maintain a calm yet assertive voice and to remove both your dog and yourself from the situation.
- Don’t rush socializing. Socializing isn’t a game and shouldn’t be treated as a game. It takes time to help your dog become social. Some dogs will never become as social as others and it shouldn’t be forced or rushed.
Sticking to these guidelines should help you socialize your dog with ease. As with all dog training it is best to figure out what works best for you and your dog. Remember that even a sweet, good-natured dog, when faced with an uncomfortable situation may react unfavorably. Allow your dog the courtesy of not being forced into a situation that may draw a negative reaction.