How to socialize a dog? Only with adequate learning and attention can you teach your dog good behavior and avoid all the problems that owners of insufficiently socialized and trained dogs face.
However, successful socialization of dogs lies exclusively in persistence and perseverance with your dog.
Socialization of dogs
Puppies are born to become dogs. That is why it is completely normal for them to jump, bark, and sometimes bite.
As you will find out later, normal, healthy puppies go through certain stages in their growth, and you will ask yourself (certainly not just once) “Why did I take a puppy instead of an adult dog ?!”
Socialize your dog the right way. We recommend this great book – Step-by-Step Socialization Training for Puppies and Dogs
It is necessary to include the puppy in as many activities as possible in which both humans and other dogs participate.
It is important to do this at the earliest period because that is when you learn the fastest.
Their first encounter with the world begins in the third week after they open their eyes for the first time and start exploring the world around them.
Socialization must begin at the earliest age of your dog’s life. In the book Puppy Socialization, you can learn all about the first steps of socializing your puppy
The next important period in his life is between the 7th and 12th week.
It is at the same time (paradoxically) a period in which the veterinarian will tell you to remove the pet from public places, until the vaccines he received start to work.
Regardless, there is always a way you can socialize your puppy during this period and turn him into a good and obedient dog.
Practical (initial) steps towards socialization
If you can’t take the dog outside, so to speak, “see the world”, bring the world to him!
Invite people as guests – that way you will meet your pet with other people, of different looks, heights, behaviors.
And be sure to give them treats to offer to your pet before they meet.
If your friends have dogs: tell them to take them too! Of course, provided they are friendly and vaccinated.
From time to time you take your puppy on shorter trips by car. This will help him get used to driving and the noise of the engine that is surely waiting for him when you go for a walk.
Remember that you do not perform any socialization exercise/attempt just once. Repetition is the best thing to learn, which is true for both humans and dogs.
The principle of action-reaction in the socialization of the dog
Whenever your puppy learns something new, act confident, and without panic.
Try not to be nervous when the dog is trying to master something because otherwise, he will feel the signals you are unconsciously sending him and may think that something is not right.
Remember that the action you take produces a certain reaction that will not be positive without your effort and commitment.
The period after completion of vaccination
After your pet receives all the vaccines (10-12 weeks), it is time to move from the preparation phase to concretizing the situation.
Take your dog for a walk by holding him on a leash, moving gradually from quieter ends to something noisier.
Some of the things you can do are:
– Visit pet-friendly cafes, restaurants, pet-shop, etc.
– Take your dog with you on vacation (beach, nature)
– And again, whenever possible, repeat the exercises
Best time to start socializing
The best time to start socializing your dog is, in essence, while he is still a dog – between 3 and 12 weeks of age.
Puppies are the most responsive to changes in that period and they easily accept them, so that period is the most suitable for learning new things and creating new habits.
The sooner you start socializing, the easier it will be to implement it.
After the 12th week, you may not be able to teach dogs new things so easily, and with age, it becomes harder and harder because habits, especially in adult dogs, are already largely built.
There are many reasons why owners did not socialize their own, but adult dogs – maybe you adopted him as a puppy so he was sick and was not allowed to leave the house or you adopted an already adult dog from the street who already has a built personality.
However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try it! With a well-behaved dog, life is easier for both you and him!
If you also have an adult dog who often causes you problems in contact with people and other dogs, read these three tips for socializing adult dogs.
The process may be long and arduous, you may have to hire an expert, but it doesn’t cost you anything to try it yourself!
Walk your dog daily and expose him to the presence of other dogs as much as possible
Walking with your dog is an ideal opportunity for him to meet other dogs and people and at the same time practice proper behavior when in public.
Why? For one reason – because your house is thus forced to enter into various situations in which it must enter into some kind of interaction with other people or dogs and slowly gets used to the fact that in the world there are not only you and him but many others.
If you want to fully understand the behavior of your dog, we recommend the book The Dog’s Mind, which will give you all the answers to questions about the behavior of your dog.
Walks are also great for physical activity – if your dog gets tired of walking or maybe running and playing with other dogs when you get home he will be calmer and more satisfied.
Dogs are social animals, as are we humans. That is why they should be exposed to other people and dogs from an early age.
Dog parks are great places to start
Remember not to drag your dog or yell at him if he starts barking or barking, because it increases the tension, creates a counter-effect and the dog permanently perceives such a situation as negative.
Instead, be calm, don’t allow yourself to get annoyed because dogs absorb your energy.
While walking with your dog, give him some play with a KONG ball dog toy
Take a dominant stance, stay very calm, as if nothing is happening, and calm the dog with a short sharp no or some other word or sound that distracts him if he does something you don’t like.
The dog must stand next to you, next to you, on a short relaxed leash.
You, as the dominant person (in pack leader dogs), have to decide on every next step, and not let your dog do it for you.
The dog will appreciate it because he always listens to the leader of his pack.
If you ignore the tension that the dog creates and show him with your attitude that you are calm and that nothing bad is happening, your pet will follow you in that.
Use a muzzle if necessary
If your dog is unfriendly and you already know in advance that he will bark and growl if another dog approaches him, you can use a muzzle.
The muzzle eliminates the danger of attacking and biting other dogs.
Carefully expose the dog to various social activities
When it comes to socialization and dog training, there is usually no quick fix.
The only thing left for you is patience and you have to come to terms with the fact that such processes often take a long time. Persistence and calmness are very important.
If your dog is unsocialized, you can initially only observe other dogs from a certain distance.
Eg. stand with him in front of a fenced dog park or walk slowly around him and your dog will watch the other dogs play.
Then gradually take it a step further and while you say cookie, your pet will run and play with others.
It is very important for a dog to get along with people, but also with other dogs
If you have the financial means, find a good dog nursery or dog lounge while you are at work, or a boarding house/hotel for dogs while you are on holiday.
The staff in kindergartens and boarding houses certainly socialize dogs when receiving pets, so that is another, easier way to solve this problem.
Do not rush with the socialization of the dog, everything takes time
Lastly, it is important to remember that you should not rush and force your dog.
You can expose him to a new activity every week, which will pay off in the long run – in time he will become sociable, calm and polite, and you will be happy and satisfied with him.