Learn How To Socialize Your Puppy To The World
"A dog is the only thing on this earth that loves you more than he loves himself."
Your pet should interact with a wide variety of family members, friends, and strangers while he is young so he learns to get along well with all kinds of people. Reassure your puppy or dog that these people are friendly and encourage him to greet them appropriately. Introduce your puppy or dog to different environments. Take him for walks, rides in the car, on family outings and other outdoor activities. A good way to socialize your puppy or dog to other dogs is to take him to a dog park or to obedience classes. Training significantly enhances the relationship of the dog to his owner and to the rest of society. A successfully trained dog can be taken anywhere and behave well with anyone.
Dogs are highly social animals and need to be with their pack. Dogs get stressed when they are left alone outside all day. They feel isolated from their pack and exhibit stress by barking, digging, chewing, and general destructiveness. At the very least, bring your dog inside while you are home. By making your dog more a member of the family, the dog will be happier and less prone to these stress behaviors. A dog that is afraid of things will not try to protect against them, but rather will run away from it or from them.
When you are out with your dog, pay attention to how your dog interacts with other dogs, as well as his reaction to various sights, sounds and situations. Knowing your dog’s personality and how he reacts in certain situations will help you understand his temperament and will help with your training. Canine language takes the form of facial expressions, ears, tail, body movement, and sound. If you know what your dog is saying, you can anticipate problems before they start. This is particularly important in social situations, such as group obedience class or if your dog is off leash at the park. Know your dog’s individual body language when he is relaxed, defending his territory, when he is scared or unsure, when he is playing versus when he is about to bite, and his vocalization (barks and growls). If your dog is showing signs of uneasiness, do not pull him or force him into the situation, but coax him in a calm tone to reassure him. Your dog needs to investigate and experiment with new situations to gain experience and confidence. It is your job to make sure he is safe and doesn’t get hurt in the process.
INTRODUCING YOUR DOG TO PEOPLE
Introducing your puppy or dog to visitors and people outside of the home is an important part of his socialization. It will lessen his fear of strangers and make him a friendlier dog. Do not let the dog jump up on people. Use the leash and collar to correct the dog, and tell him to “Sit.” Have him stay in this position while he is being greeted. This will help him to learn to accept greeting and praise in a calm manner. Also, request that others respect your dog’s rights, and ask that they talk to and treat him gently. By teaching your dog to be friendly and trusting with strangers, he will gain confidence and experience that will help develop a good temperament.
INTRODUCING YOUR DOG TO KIDS
Adult supervision is absolutely essential when children are playing with puppies or dogs. Never leave a child alone with any dog, no matter how harmless the dog seems. Most children love dogs and vice versa. But it is important to teach your children about proper animal care. Introduce your puppy or dog to children gradually, for short periods of time. Children must understand that your puppy or dog is not a toy and they must be sensitive to his feelings. Teach the children how to properly hold and pick up the puppy or dog. Teach the children not to pull on his tail or ears, squeeze or poke at him, make loud or threatening noises, to move towards him too quickly or to run away from the dog (this can trigger an instinctive predatory-prey response). To a puppy, even a small child looks big and he might bite to protect himself if he is frightened. A good way for children to play with puppies and dogs is to get down on the floor at the dog’s level to make him feel more secure. Older children can assist in the dog’s training and be given certain responsibilities regarding the dog’s care, and the parents must follow up to make sure that those responsibilities are being met. Introducing a new puppy or dog to a baby in your home requires certain precautions. A baby has a different scent from the rest of the family members, and does not look, move or sound like an adult. On first meeting, the puppy or dog should be kept 10 to 15 feet apart, and brought closer very gradually, a foot at a time. Watch closely and use careful judgment in deciding when the dog is allowed to sniff the baby directly. Most dogs will adjust to babies easily, but some may not.
Socializing your dog to children can be as simple as walking the dog near a playground where children are making noise, running around, playing ball, or walking through the neighborhood while the kids wait for the school bus. The dog can be told to walk in the heel position through a crowd of children, to sit-stay and watch the play or allow the children to pet his head, or to down-stay until the end of the game. This type of constant exposure will accustom the dog to the presence of children.
INTRODUCING YOUR DOG TO OTHER DOGS
Dogs need exposure to other dogs while they are puppies to avoid having serious problems as they grow into adults. Puppies usually make friends with older dogs rather easily, as the older dogs have nothing to fear from a puppy. Some dogs, however, do not want to be bothered by a puppy, and some puppies are hesitant to approach an older dog. Do not force the dogs to accept each other, but let them become acquainted at their own pace. Don’t panic if your puppy appears to react aggressively towards another dog. He is probably feeling insecure and fearful, but is displaying aggression to cover it up. Aggression of this kind is not hostile, but rather, a sign of insecurity and the dog’s inability to handle the situation. In this situation, do not punish or praise the puppy or dog. By reassuring the puppy or dog in a calm voice, it will help him master such situations with confidence. Introduce your puppy or dog to other pets in the house with great care. When an older dog meets a younger dog, it is advisable to have both pets on leashes. Do not leave them alone together until you are sure they are friendly together. Whether your other pet is a dog or cat, remember to show her extra love and affection so that he or she will not be jealous of the puppy or new dog.