How to socialize your dog

Often on the street, you can find dogs that do not behave in the best way. They bark at passers-by and passing cars, rush at cyclists, and chase cats. Very often the reason for this behavior is the lack of socialization of the dog. What is it and how to carry it out correctly?

Socialization is the mastering of new information by the dog, adaptation to the surrounding world. The behavior of the animal on the street, at a party, and in any unfamiliar situations depends on how successful it is. Socialization is designed to help your dog successfully integrate not only into human society but also into the society of the animals around it. 

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Dog socialization period begins in the first weeks and lasts until the end of the dog's life. However, scientists consider the first three stages:

  •  Initial stage: from birth to 7 weeks. This is the period of early socialization, during this time the puppies meet other dog, learn to interact with each other, and with the mother. They learn to understand family relationships.
  •  Second stage: from 8 to 11 weeks. According to a number of dog handlers, this is the most important stage of socialization. At this time, the puppy is especially sensitive to incoming information. It is very important not to scare him, as the fear acquired at this age can seriously ruin the psyche of the dog.
  •  Third stage: from 12 to 18 weeks. This is generally considered as an adolescent dog socializing period. The dog is already quite independent. She continues to study and analyze the world around her, is able to assess the levels of the danger of various situations, and control her emotions.

Consequences Of Not Socializing Your Dog

When a pet, instead of socializing, spends most of the time at home, the so-called "cottage dog syndrome" occurs. Most often, they suffer from animals that live outside the city, in a private house. They know their territory very well, react adequately to people and events taking place in the surrounding area. But as soon as they find themselves in the city, in an unfamiliar place for them, they lose their self-control and become uncontrollable.

The essentials of dog behavior that wasn't properly socialized in its youth often grow up into cowardly, insecure dog who doesn't know how to behave in the simplest situations. As a result, being in constant stress, the dog gradually becomes aggressive, since this is a natural defensive reaction of the animal to events that it does not understand. That`s why it's very important to know the main steps of dog socialization period.

Other unsocialized puppies may grow into hyperactive, restless dogs, which, due to their imbalance, will have great behavioral problems. Such dogs will always pose a potential danger not only to other animals but also to their owners due to lack of dog to dog socialization.

Very often, the reason for the lack of socialization of the dog is the schedule of vaccinations and quarantine, which just falls on the best time to get to know the outside world. What to do in this case? Walk with the puppy in your arms, in a carrier, invite friends to visit - in a word, observe safety measures, but do not completely shield the dog from the outside world. 

What to do if you adopted an older dog that didn’t have a proper socialization period? You may ask: Can I start with an adult dog socialization? Absolutely, no! You will need to make some observations before you can determine exactly what kind of socialization your dog may need.

In the course of socialization, a young dog gradually acquires everyday experience, learns to distinguish between dangerous and safe, and to control its behavior.

Thus, already an adult dog will calmly, without anxiety, perceive new phenomena and situations. Carefully thought out socialization of your puppy will help him grow into an obedient, calm, and confident dog.

Tips To Socialize Your Dog

The success of puppy and older dog socialization depends on how quickly the dog adapts to new circumstances. The early socialization period most often takes place under the supervision of the breeder. He shows the dog the primary positive interaction with the person: he takes the puppy in his arms, caresses him, talks to animals.

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Further socialization of the puppy is under the control of the owner. And this process is not as easy as it might seem at first glance. It is important to show the dog that the world around him is large and diverse. How to do it?

  1. Take different routes. The puppy must understand that cars suddenly passing by, cyclists, screaming children are normal, and they do not threaten his safety. Do not be afraid to change your walking routes, go to the park more often, to crowded places.
  2. Introduce other animals. Interaction with other dogs is perhaps one of the most important processes that need to be given maximum attention. Take your dog to the playground, meet with neighbors' pets, in other words, do not isolate your pet from the company of other dogs. Otherwise, insufficient communication with relatives can make him aggressive and nervous and cause fearful dog socialization.
  3. In addition, it is advisable to introduce the puppy to other animals: cats, birds, and rodents. Perhaps your acquaintances or friends have such pets, and they can kindly invite you to visit.
  4. Use dog`s muzzle if your dog bites. If your dog is aggressive or prone to biting, you should wear a muzzle or antibarking collar when new people or new animals are present. This will not allow the dog to seriously injure or even kill the animal or person. Muzzles are a great tool because they allow dogs to respond to new situations without taking too much risk.
  5.  Watch your dog's reactions. It is important to monitor how the puppy reacts to what is happening. In no case should you shout at him or swear if the pet suddenly starts to get nervous and panic. It is best to switch the dog's attention to you at this moment because you are the leader and leader of the pack who is in control of the situation.
  6.  Don't forget about smells, tastes, and sounds. A dog perceives most of the information through smell and hearing, so it is also important not to forget about the smells and city noise that he may encounter.

One more thing to be considered: how to socialize an aggressive dog? If your dog shows a tendency to bite or be aggressive towards other dogs, do not try to socialize it on your own. Consult a professional. It is better to admit that you need help with your dog, rather than harming, maiming, killing, or even killing someone.

 By bringing your dog to dog socialization classes, you will also allow him to see new animals and new people, but many trainers also offer individual lessons.

Along with puppy socialization training, you need to train him in good manners so that he knows what behavior is acceptable and what is not. It is also necessary to start teaching the puppy obedience and teach him basic commands, for example, "sit", "stand", "no", "to me", etc.


It's never too late

Effective socialization is necessary for living with a puppy because it significantly affects his physical and mental well-being in the long run. It only takes a few weeks for a puppy to socialize, but the lessons learned in the first months after birth will serve him for the rest of his life.

Here is one more important point: how to socialize an older dog?

  • Before attempting to socialize an adult dog, you should consult an animal behaviorist or veterinarian who specializes in dog socialization.
  • Do not try to socialize your dog if you cannot constantly have absolute physical control over the dog. If you are unable or unwilling to do this, do not try to socialize your dog.
  • Consider buying a metal muzzle instead of a nylon muzzle. A metal muzzle will allow the dog to suffocate because that's how it is ventilated. He can also drink water while wearing a metal snout.
  • Get the dog face and leash inside the house before taking it outside. Follow the instructions provided by the leash you purchased.
  • Ask a friend who has a dog to help you socialize it. You need two leash dogs, separated by about three meters each, so there must be two people to continue working. Try to introduce your dog only to another dog that is known to be dog-friendly and under the control of an owner you know well.
  • Choose a neutral place for presentations. Do not try to bring dogs into your home or garden. These spaces are your dog's territory, and it is likely to be more aggressive if an intruder enters it. Choose a neutral location, such as a friend's garden (not the owner's garden) or a dog park next to you.
  • Introduce your dog to your friend's dog. Walk with your friend, holding the dog near you (with a leash). Do not allow dogs to get too close to each other.
  • Observe the behavior of your dog. Look at both dogs to see what they do when you meet them, but pay special attention to your dog. If you notice that your dog looks relaxed and happy, you should be able to bring him closer to your friend's dog as soon as he looks so happy and relaxed. If one of the two dogs shows signs of aggression you should walk away.
  • Invite people to your home often. For your dog to be socialized, you need to continue to introduce him to people and animals for successful interaction another dog.
  • Bring your dog for a walk often. Walking with dogs is a great way to communicate and get used to new things and new sounds. Try to find a quiet bench in the park and let the dog watch his surroundings and the sounds around. 
  • Think about group training or individual training for your dog. Dog socialization class training is a great way to get a dog to treat other animals and people well

Remember, its never too late to socialize your dog, it doesn’t matter what breed he is and how old he is. NO GOOD DOGS WITHOUT SOCIALIZATION!