10 Socialization Tips for your Dog or Pup!
If Santa delivered a new dog (young or old), we’ve got some time tested tips to help you socialize your new fur-ever family member!
- Start your social activity early: Exposing your dog to a variety of people, places, and experiences can help them grow into well-adjusted adult dogs. If Santa blessed you with an adult pup, then make sure to start socialization slowly so that you can get to know each other. Walks are a great way to start, especially for older pups. Watch for cues…is your dog comfy with cars passing by, lawnmowers or other “sounds and sights” in your neighborhood? Again, go slow, repeat often and watch for cues!
- Plan to go slow: Schedule plenty of time for your socialization events. Take things slowly so you can give your dog plenty of time to sniff, relax and adjust to meeting with new people and locations.
- Use positive reinforcement: Reward your dog for good behavior when they are around other people and dogs. Verbal praise, a good belly rub or re-affirming pet will reinforce good interactions.
- Dont’ force it! If your dog seems anxious or fearful, don't try to force them to interact. Although the day’s socialization may not work, next time it may. Be patient. Repeat. Look for small improvements. Create positivity. And praise any positive steps toward socialization!
- Watch your dog's body language: A tail wag and relaxed body generally mean things are going well. A tucked tail, lip licking, yawning, or turning/moving away from other dog or people are signs of stress. If you see these signs, give your dog some space and time. Consider trying another time.
- Be a good role model: Be calm and positive when socializing your dog, as your own behavior can have a big impact on how they behave. Keep the leash loose, shoulders high–dogs can read your confidence.
- Use a leash: It's a good idea to use a leash when socializing your dog, especially in a new or unfamiliar environment. This will help you maintain control and keep your dog safe.
- Attend dog training classes: Obedience classes can be a great way to socialize your dog and teach them basic manners. If you have an older pup, a trainer can provide insight by doing an assessment of your dog.
- EXERCISE! Walks, a game of fetch, a good swim (weather or warm pool permitting) can help tire out your dog and make them more relaxed in social situations.
- Be patient: It can take time for your dog to become comfortable in social situations. Be patient and give them the time they need to adjust.
Enjoy your new four legged family members. Remember, they will need quiet time, too. Socialization can be stressful for certain dogs, so plan in plenty of quiet time as well.
As always, chews happiness!