Exposing your pooch to different people and new environments will help him develop ease and confidence over time which can go a long way when it comes to shaping him into a resilient pooch in the face of unsettling situations. Teaching your dog how to cope and properly respond in a healthy and acceptable manner to the spectrum of experiences he will encounter along the road of life gives him the opportunity to become a happy, stable and trustworthy companion.
Things to Consider When Socializing Your Pooch
- Proper timing. The primary and probably most crucial time for your pooch to socialize is during the first 3 months of his life which is the period when their “sociability” had been found to outweigh their “fear”. It is during this natural period (between 3 to 12 weeks of age) when your dog is open to learning about their environment. No wonder, it is said to be the main window of opportunity for dog owners to train their little pooches to adapt to new people and experiences because after this phase is over, dogs will start avoiding novel things.
- Expose them to a wide variety of new experiences. Since dogs do not generalize well, it is crucial that you introduce your pooch to as many things as possible and then making sure that each unique encounter was a positive experience for your pet. These include the following:
- Different people – men, women, babies, children, teenagers, uniforms, peculiar gaits, bearded men, people with hats, etc.
- Various situations – different sounds, different floor textures, kids on bikes, car rides, crowds, traffic, soccer games, etc.
- Other animals – cats, livestock, etc. but especially other dogs
- Maintain it. Socialization should be an ongoing process for the rest of Fido’s life. To keep him socialized, continue on letting him meet new people and new dogs by walking a different route from time to time and having parties in your place. Without adequate exposure to different things, your pooch can become fearful. You don’t want this as it will only make him develop a couple of those serious problems – biting and fighting.
- Enroll your dog in obedience classes. To help your dog become more confident and feel more comfortable in public, let him learn new skills through obedience training. The more skills Fido learns, the more favorable things he will have to focus on.
Dog classes are very useful when it comes to socialization but bear in mind that it is not enough to simply go to class once a week for a month or so. You, as a responsible dog parent, have to do more. An effective active approach of exposing your four-legged friend to tons of things and making sure that a positive association with them is achieved greatly reduce the risk of your pet becoming fearful and aggressive in adulthood.