Socializing can be one of the most important parts of having a dog and can ensure that they grow to be a well mannered and more confident pup! Teaching them to react positively or just be neutral around dogs and people can really help both of you on your training journey! To some, socializing your dog consists of just puppy play dates and meeting every person you see out on a walk.
This can be done correctly; but it is just one component to having a well trained and socialized dog. Socializing your dog includes exposure to many things! Not only dogs and people, but also sights, sounds, handling, and even riding in the car! Doing this can help your dog become stable, friendly, and even give them the skills to work through new situations that may be frightening! Typically we like to focus on these things in the prime socialization period, which is around 3 weeks up to 16 weeks. At this time puppies soak up a lot of information, so it’s important to experience new things and ensure that it’s positive! If you’re past that period though, don’t fret! You can still work with your dog and create new positive associations.
There are many ways that we can socialize our dogs! Having a puppy play date set up with a friend is a wonderful idea; you can even take your pup to a reputable doggy daycare for some playtime! This is a great way for them to learn social manners and how to interact appropriately! There’s also plenty of human staff for them to get acquainted to, which is a plus! Taking plenty of walks is another great way to experience new things with your dog, as there are usually new strange sights or sounds! It’s important to reward your dog and show them it’s
not a scary thing. This can be done by physical praise or our favorite method, yummy treats! Walking around with your pup and just rewarding them for being calm and not reacting negatively can be very impactful. Consider having a picnic with your pup, bring a high value treat or toy and just relax! This creates a positive association with the outside world and can teach your dog to be care-free and laid back in public!
So weather you have a puppy or a new rescue, or just an adult dog that needs some guidance, it’s never too late to start socializing your dog! It can lead to a more enriching life for them as well as for you! It’s a fun activity for you and your dog to go and experience new things. Get a bunch of yummy treats and your pup and go on an adventure!