Socializing Your Dog

May 23, 2015 at 10:45 pm

socialize your dogBy Mindy Jarvis, owner of Noble Beast Dog Training

Do you want your dog to have the best life ever?  Then consider the importance of SOCIALIZATION!

Owning a dog in Colorado is a wonderful thing because we are an extremely dog friendly state.  We have exceptional dog parks, dog friendly trails to hike, dog -friendly bars to drink in, and many dog friendly shops that allow our dogs to tag along.  Unfortunately, there are many dogs who never get to go anywhere with their owners because they just can’t handle the stress of being in public places with all the hustle and bustle of our human lives, and much of this has to do their socialization (or lack of) when they were puppies and adolescent dogs.

What is important to understand is that socializing is not an event, it is not a one-time thing, and it is not something done at the same place over and over with the same group of beings.  Socialization should be a focus for you and your dog until he or she is mentally mature at around age 3, and most importantly your pup’s socialization experience will hugely affect your pups personal identity, so you need to manage every moment of your pups socialization and make his or her experiences as positive as possible.

So the question is, how do you socialize your dog?

For starters, it is important to gently exposing your pup to the human world, which means taking him many places and exploring things that he is unsure of at his own pace, be it a sound, an object or a being.  When he meets new people, your dog may literally jump for joy or shy away.  For the pups that jump for joy, you will need to teach them how to properly great people by sitting and being patient.  For the dogs that shy away or are fearful of being pet, simply have people squat down and offer treats.  If the pup approaches and takes the treat great, if not then so be it.  It is ok to let him go at his own pace.

When it comes to meeting and playing with dogs, it is important for your pup to safely meet a variety of dogs of different sizes, ages, and personalities understanding that just like people, your pup is not likely going to love every dog she meets. To help her with this you support her boundaries.  If while playing she is trying to get away, interrupt play so she can take a break or stop playing, which ever she prefers.  If she herself is being a bully, interrupt play so she can calm down and realize that when she plays that way, play stops. If she is so fearful that she just does not want to participate, then sit back and watch with her and as pups come up, observe her reactions.  If she opens up for a pup, allow them to explore play, if not stop the interaction and go back to watching.

Lastly, understand if your pup has an unfavorable reaction to something, he may not know any other way to act, so you must teach him how to act by giving him space, helping him think, and teaching him an alternative solution.  This will build his confidence as he practices his new behaviors because it eliminates internal and external conflict.

Socializing your dog should be a major component when raising a dog.  It should be fun, but at times can be stressful.  This is the real world, so challenges will present themselves, but the more supportive of your dog in of his or her socialization experiences;  the more likely you are to have a happy and secure dog that can join you in life!

Noble Beast Dog Training
5320 Xanadu St
Denver, CO 80239