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How to socialize your dog

Updated on September 30, 2007

Like with humans the same does apply to your canine companion, it is necessary that you socialize your dog. If you have fostered a puppy or a dog from a shelter and especially if the dog has suffered abused and/or is still traumatized it will take time, patience and perseverance. Although to be fair I have met a number of fostered dogs that have suffered abuse but were still believe it or not perfectly behaved. With puppies socialization is essential.

It would help if you enroll your dog into puppy training classes that are available in your area. This way your puppy will socialize with both humans and other dogs at the same time. Further more the socialization is essential, as your dog has to get used to his/her surroundings, sights, smells and other people. While I do not have a problem with dog running up to me and slobbering all over my jeans (as in fact majority of dog owners do not mind) some people do have a problem with it. Not to mention there is a number of laws and regulations in place that make dog owners responsible for behavior of their canine companions. While having a dog is a wonderful thing, we are in fact responsible for them and by socializing them early on, we can make sure no accidents will happen.

Luckily even though socialization is an essential part of your dog's training it need not cost a lot of money and it is not as grueling as one might think. It is as simple as putting a leash on your dog and going for a walk in the area where you live.

Be sure to have plenty of treats with you before you set off. The important thing to remember is positive affirmation, meaning you should praise your dog profusely and reward with a treat when they display desirable behavior. Negative behavior should be ignored. It is important to make a distinction between two, so you can reward the positive behavior and do not reward negative behavior by accident. Positive behavior would include walking calmly, sitting politely and sniffing around. Negative behavior would include barking, jumping, crossing the road when not allowed, leash pulling and showing fear. During the negative behavior redirect attention to yourself and keep him occupied with something else.

As soon as the negative behavior stops praise and reward is in order, but as said before make sure not to reward the negative. If you do this often enough and if you start as early as humanely possible your dog will be socialized in no time.

What you are trying to accomplish with this practice is that you will be able to take your dog everywhere with you. What it means is that you can go to any particular area, no matter how crowded, noisy or boisterous and your dog will be calm, relaxed and well behaved. This means there is little or no chance your dog will loose head in different situation and you will be able to manage him/her.


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