Socialization … it’s not just for puppies

We have taken the most social animals, dogs, and de-socialized them.  It’s our responsibility to introduce dogs to all of the things that come with living with people. It is downright neglect to keep a dog in isolation and then blame the dog for having behavior issues. Most dogs surrendered to shelters are there because of behavioral reasons … mostly traced back to the human that gave up on them. Introduce your dog to the world that we live in so we can share it happily together.

Socialization, particularly with people, is imperative to your dog’s well-being. Without it, your dog can easily become unsure, anxious, and fearful. Under socialized dogs live a life of silent pain. They are never sure what to expect or how to handle certain situations. With socialization, your dog can easily be taken with you wherever you go. Your dog will be welcome most places and a pleasure to be with – Simply a joy! If you take the time to carefully and wisely socialize your dog, you will give one of the greatest gifts to your beloved pup. Socialization yields a confident and well – rounded dog. But this is ONLY possible with YOU. Your dog can NOT socialize him/herself. It must be a top priority to socialize your dog to a wide variety of people, particularly children, men and strangers BEFORE your dog is 12 weeks old and continue doing so for their entire life. Learning never ceases – make it fun J A smart rule of thumb is that your pup needs to meet AT LEAST 100 people BEFORE he/she is three months old. You will have a confidence and peace of mind knowing your dog is well adjusted.  A well – adjusted dog is a happy dog!

When you first bring your dog home, as always be patient and allow him/her to explore the small world of your home. This is their safe haven indoors and out. Make a concerted effort to invite people over to your home. In other words, have “puppy parties”! YOU must train your visitors. Give treats to your guests to give to your dog! Have them gently handle your dog! You are on your way to socializing your dog in a positive fashion.

Please exercise common sense. Expose your dog to as many different things as possible and always use distance as a training tool. What we take for granted can and quite often are extremely scary for our dogs. Walking a pup on a busy street is not enjoyable. Take quiet walks and work your way up to a busier road. Bicycles are not scary to us but they sure are to dogs.  Offer real food to your dog every time a biker, runner or car passes by. This will teach your dog to welcome them and lessen the likely hood of developing fear of them.

Remember, it’s much more difficult to desensitize a fearful dog than it is to train via positive approach to the world in which we live. If you take the time now to get your dog familiar and accepting to all of the different things in our environment; then you will be able to bring your dog WITH YOU more places because they will be a well-rounded courteous canine!

Examples of Socialization

  • Seeing and meeting a myriad of dogs, people and various animals. Look for diversity and socialize!
  • Children of different ages, people wearing hats, carrying canes, limping, and men, men, men!
  • Visual, Audible & Tactile Socialization – unusual-shaped objects, sounds, various surfaces.