Socializing your dog is a crucial component when it comes to developing a calm and well-rounded, obedient dog. Socialization, in relation to dog training, generally involves introducing your dog to new places, events, people, other animals, and experiences in a safe, non-threatening way. This way, you teach your pooch to become comfortable in any situation. This is particularly of the essence because a pet that is relaxed and at ease is not likely going to become defensive or possessive, which as you may already know, the two common triggers of dog aggression. Keep in mind that all dogs, regardless of their size, only have two basic responses the moment they see something new that they consider a potential threat. They can either run away or stand and fight, which either or neither may be a good option whatever the circumstances are.
Four Easy Ways to Socialize Your Pooch
It is ideal for owners of small dogs to provide appropriate socialization for their pets as early as possible. While it is reasonable for dog parents of toy breeds to be concerned about allowing full-sized dogs (even puppies) to rough and tumble play with their little furballs, just know that lots of dog trainers and associations that specialize in small breeds can actually provide safe and suitable interactions. On your own though, you can do the following to help Fido get accustomed to new things and different experiences.
- Take obedience classes. Enrolling Fido in obedience classes and other sorts of dog training workshops is a great way to meet other dog parents and pets who might also be interested in spending more time with you and your pooch. This way, you can learn from each others’ unique experiences as dog owners as well as allow your pets to interact with other dogs.
- Join a rescue. Another remarkable way to meet other dog parents and their pets is by participating in a rescue or signing up as a member in some type of dog volunteer group. Just be careful about the dog part of this equation though. While most rescue dogs are totally harmless, there are a few that might be suffering from serious behavior problems.
- Visit the dog park. Dogs and their own owners who frequent dog parks generally play nicely and may even be interested in hanging out. Find the most accessible dog park in your area and allow your pooch to familiarize himself with his surroundings then interact in a safe environment.
- Go to pet stores. Bring your pooch with you every now and then when you have to go to the pet store to buy his food and other stuff. Here, you also have the opportunity to meet people and their pets. Although this option is the least natural (since most dog owners go there only to get what their pet needs then leave), it’s still worth a try.
If you are a first time dog owner who is interested in getting a toy breed, it is important that you work with a trusted breeder, dog trainer, or animal behaviorist to help you adjust your training in a way that it accommodates the needs of your little furry friend. If you have a specific concern about your pooch interacting with much larger dogs, just look for some obedience classes and dog training programs geared to small breeds so you can ensure that your dog gets the proper preparation he needs.