Dog Socialization and the Benefits of it
Being a pet owner of any kind as two sides to ownership. This means that there are the joys to having the dog such as getting to pet, cuddle, and play with your dog. The other side of ownership is the hard work that goes into caring for the dog. The work side is considered taking the dog for walks, feeding them, keeping up with hygiene (baths and grooming), as well as vet check ups and vaccines (rabies most importantly).
When it comes to dog socialization, this will help your dog learn how to greet family and strangers and it has many benefits for both.
Dog Socialization Classes
These types of classes allows your dog to learn how to act and react appropriately. It’s beneficial so your dog knows how to properly greet people at the door and what you expect of them. Most dog owners don’t want their dog running out the door or jumping on whoever is at their door, especially if it’s a guest coming over. Another thing these dog socialization classes teach are how to get your dog to learn how to properly greet other dogs while on leash as well as greeting people. Some dogs are aggressive towards others dogs while on a leash. Other dogs are more apt to jump on people while they are leashed or pull to get to the person or dog. These are scenarios that no dog owner wants to deal with and it’s best to get help right away with these issues.
A few other benefits to these socialization classes are that they can help teach your dog to be gentle around kids. Some dogs simply have more energy or don’t recognize their size and can be crazy around younger children, or just all children in general. They also teach your dog not to nip or bite at people, nobody likes that and I’m sure you don’t want your dog to hurt anyone either. Dogs of any size can enjoy jumping up for a number of reasons and it just isn’t polite. Taking your dog to training can help with these issues and getting them the proper socialization as well if very beneficial to solving these problems.
Dog Socialization and Training Websites and Books
A great website to check out for more tips is Awesome K9. Over there you will find puppy training, dog training, dog training articles, success stories, and more! Prefer to actually read a book? There’s plenty of fantastic books and this is one that many people I know have read and enjoyed. I did read and enjoy it too. Prefer to simply use a positive only method? Here’s another great book that has a 5 week training guide for positive dog training.
Do NOT Force Socialization
I get that the main point of this os to get your dog properly socialized but do not force it. Forcing socialization upon your dog can cause negative effects. A few of these are dog aggression and making them territorial. Yes, if your dog isn’t ready, then they will show you. Now getting the help of a professional trainer would be your next option or at least discussing the issues with a trainer and get their input. Don’t think that just because one trainer can’t help that no trainer can. There are many wonderful trainers but also some who aren’t so great so get recommendations from friends or other dog owners.
When to begin Dog Socialization
The best time to begin socializing your dog is when they are between 8-12 weeks old. At this age they are young enough to learn quickly and old enough to understand. Some dogs over 12 weeks may have already developed fear in certain situations. This is something that can typically be fixed and worked on though. It can be difficult though to convince dogs that a scary situation to them already isn’t actually scary. This can be helped as long as your dog trusts you and knows you wouldn’t put them in any dangerous situation to begin with. It comes with time and lots of patience.
Some dog breeds are more naturally shy and timid than others and they may shy away from social situations. Don’t force it but do keep trying every so often with them. You can always bring treats if that helps them to focus a bit more on your and less on the situation or to encourage them to greet another person, with permission of course.
A good trainer is also key as they can help your dog with socialization and overcoming fears of certain places. This can also be if your dog is scared or nervous on car trips, a trainer can help with that as well. The most important thing is for you to bond in a good way with your dog and make these experiences fun and not stressful.