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How to socialize a dog

Updated on June 20, 2009

Well behaved and well trained dogs are not born. Dogs with admirable behaviors are “made” by responsible and caring dog owners.

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Understanding the nature of the dog

Dogs are pack animals. In order to thrive they need to socialize not only with other canines but with other people as well. The human family is the pack of a domesticated dog. As such, the owner and the other members of the family have to establish the fact that they are higher in rank than the dog.

Socialization explained

The objective of socialization is to have a dog that can be taken anywhere because it would not react negatively to any given situation. This means that the dog has been accustomed to meeting a variety of people and animals. A well socialized dog would remain calm and confident no matter what the situation is. 

Importance of socialization

Dogs are our best friends. These loyal and affectionate animals are wonderful to have around. However, an under socialized dog can be a liability to take around. A shy or fearful dog can do unpredictable things when exposed to unusual situations. This is potentially dangerous not only to the dog but to other people and animals as well.  Apparently this is one of the reasons why dogs are euthanized.

Starting them young

Socialization is pretty much the same as obedience training in that it is best started when the dog is still a puppy. Young dogs are naturally exuberant. They are curious as well. Basically, a puppy will not be intimidated by new sounds and sights and by other animals and people either because of their curiosity about their new world. Instead of being fearful the puppy would learn for himself that the new faces, situations and sounds are not scary. In fact they are fun! This does not mean though that older dogs can not be socialized. They can. You only need to be more persevering in order to develop the dog into a calm and confident pet.

The Walk

Introduce the pet to as many people as possible when you take it for a walk. Cuddly puppies would be less intimidating to children. However, always have the puppy on a leash. When you take the dog for a walk, you are also introducing your pet to other sounds and sights. And don’t forget, walking the dog is a good bonding time for you and your pet.

The Dog Park

Bringing the dog to a dog park is a good way of evaluating the social skills of the dog. Will it cower once faced with dominant dogs or would it show a dominant behavior? This is very important as only when you learn the strengths and weaknesses of your pet can you do the necessary measures to help your pooch.

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