A well socialized dog is able to relate well with the different people around. He is also able to get along well with different animals and will easily get used to different situations.
He is a more friendly dog with less fear and aggression.
Socializing a puppy
Unless your dog is an adult when you bring him home, you should start to socialize him when he is a puppy.
Give him ample opportunities to be around other puppies. Also, he needs to be around other people besides those in your family.
Give your puppy as much opportunities as possible to learn positive interactions. Whenever possible, take him along with you when you go out. Take him to the park and to the stores that allow puppies inside.
Expose him to various environments so that he can learn to adjust.
Let him experience quiet as well as noisy places. Take him to rural areas where it is quiet and peaceful and also bring him around the city area to get used to the noise.
You will broaden your puppy’s horizon as you expose him to new experiences. He will learn how to act and interact in various settings and among different people.
Socializing adult dogs
Although it is much easier to socialize puppies, you can also socialize adult dogs. However, you may need to work a lot harder.
Some adult dogs were not given the opportunity to socialize properly in the past. They have not been around other dogs or pets.
Besides their owner’s place, they did not have the chance to be around other people. As such, the dog’s ability to be social is limited.
If your adult dog has poor socialization skills, then you need to introduce your dog to others in a positive manner. Otherwise, he will be reluctant and will not cooperate.
In some cases, he may even be aggressive towards other pets and people.
You need to be patient and start slowly. Let your dog have enough time to get used to other people and pets.
You can take him on a leash for a walk in the park. But starting out, you need to keep a distance from other people and pets to give him time to adjust.
Stay outside of the area where other people are. Let your dog simply observe what is going on for a while. Do not tired him out. So, do not do it for too long periods of time.
Do not overwhelm
Let him become familiar with a particular place or a particular person before slowly introducing him to more places and people he interacts with. You do not want to overwhelm him with too many new situations in too short a time.
Gradually expand his exposure and let him slowly get used to each new encounter.
Create a positive learning experience
A good trick is to give your dog something positive to look forward to when going somewhere. Always take a treat with you and give it to him every time you arrive at the same place.
He will learn to associate the socialization event with a reward. This will help him to learn positively.
Always be patient and remember to avoid overwhelming your dog with new experiences too soon. Increase slowly his social circle of places, people and pets. Give him enough time to learn and adjust before adding new ones.
Socializing senior dogs
As long as you are supervising them, senior dogs can be socialized. Praise them and give them treats when in new places and when meeting new people. They will soon learn that these are a good thing.
Other families or friends with a gentle dog would be a great help. Arrange visits with them and let your dog meet with their dogs.
Give your senior dog a new social event on a regular basis. Once or twice a week would be enough to help socialize your dog quickly.
Click here to learn more from certified dog trainer, Adrienne Farricelli.