Socialization is an important step in helping your dog grow up to be strong and confident. Socialization is a common term used when giving your dog careful, positive exposure to people, other dogs and everyday situations that he may encounter. Special attention should be given during the early stages. If a puppy isn’t given exposure to a variety of stimulus including people and dogs when young, it may not develop into a confident adult. There are many steps that need to be taken for proper socialization. Done incorrectly, it could do more damage than good.
Types of Dog Socialization
Getting your dog used to being around humans and other animals is a key part of socialization, but there are other factors to consider. The most crucial time for socialization is the first weeks of a puppy’s life when they are being exposed to all sorts of sounds, smells, sights and other sensations that will inform how they see the world. Dogs that miss out on these experiences as puppies can become apprehensive of the unfamiliar, which could lead to fear and anxiety and even aggression. Some of the things you should focus on when socializing a dog include the following:
- Constantly introduce your dog to new people – Dogs will only learn to be social when they are constantly in contact with people. This goes for older dogs too. Keeping your dog socialized to humans requires constant reinforcement.
- Socializing a dog to babies and young children, as well as older people/seniors, is something you may want to consider. Dogs need to be more gentle around them and teaching them this early is a smart move.
- Keep introducing your dog to other animals – There are lots of ways to socialize your dog to other animals, especially other dogs. Take them to a dog play group, a dog park, or just a regular old walk in an area with other dogs to accomplish this. Michael’s Pack offers dog socialization classes where your dog can interact with other dogs learning the same things!
- Vary your walk routine – Don’t take the same route every day. Let your dog experience different places and environments.
- Let your dog be alone – You don’t necessarily need to leave your dog home all alone for extended periods of time, but simply using a baby gate or crate so they aren’t constantly shadowing you will make them more self-reliant and confident on their own.
- Introduce them to things that might scare or alarm them – Things like vacuum cleaners or alarms can be loud and scary to a dog. Introducing them early in a dog’s life will teach them that they don’t need to be afraid of these sounds.