Train Your Dog Month: The Importance Of SocializationLarry Kay
By Robbi Hess ~ Managing Editor Pet Calendar, Crimeless Cat Executive Story Editor, Chief Cat Herder
When you have a new puppy or when you adopt an older dog, chances are you waver between wanting to show him off to the world and wanting to keep him safely at home with you in a protective, loving cocoon. Welcoming a new puppy or an older dog into your family comes with responsibilities that go beyond taking him to the veterinarian, teaching him to sit and to walk nicely on a leash.
Socializing your dog is a crucial component in raising a happy, healthy and well-adjusted pup.
Train Your Dog Month: The Importance Of Socialization
Positive reinforcement trainers will tell you one of the most important gifts you can give your dog or puppy is the gift of meeting people and dogs and even cats outside of the immediate family. Socialization can turn a fearful puppy into a confident dog. Sometimes, a fearful dog is a dog who will bite because of his fear and that is a recipe for disaster.
Here are other reasons positive reinforcement trainers point out as to why you want to socialize your canine family friend.
Friendliness. A dog who doesn’t meet other dogs won’t be as friendly when he meets one on the street. A dog who doesn’t meet humans outside of his immediate family of humans will be wary of strangers and that could lead to barking, lunging and potentially biting.
Behavior issues. If you don’t socialize your dog she may develop behavioral issues. A non socialized dog could damage the house, bark all day while you’re away, chew your shoes and others. Get your dog out and around people occasionally as a way to exercise him mentally — meeting new humans and physically by meeting and playing with new dogs.
Boarding. If you vacation or travel and can’t take your dog with you, where will he stay? If he’s boarded and hasn’t been around other dogs, he will be fearful and could even be aggressive with other dogs and won’t be a welcome addition to the boarding facility. If you need to bring in a pet sitter and your dog hasn’t had interactions with anyone outside the family, it could be difficult for the pet sitter.
How to socialize your puppy or dog.
- Take him for a walk. Let him sniff the grass, meet humans and other dogs.
- Take her to a puppy class to get socialized with other dogs.
- Invite friends and family over to your home to meet and play with your puppy or newly adopted dog.
Start socialization early and do it often. Your dog will thank you for it!