Dogs that are not domesticated, engage in socialization from a
young age, simply because dogs move around in packs. If your dog
shows signs of shyness, aggression or fear in social situations,
then chances are that he has not socialized. Socialization is key
to the development and well-being of your pet, and here are some
ways you can help him pick up his social skills.
Raising your pet to be friendly
The earliest interactions that your pet has are with the
littermates and mother. These interactions are extremely crucial
for the development of your pup, without it his social skills
will not be the same when he grows up. This is exactly why you
should not take your pup away from the mother and litter until he
completes the first eight weeks.How you raise your pup once you
bring him in to your house, place an equally important role in
shaping the social skills. It is always a good idea to expose
your pet to different people, and dogs from a young age. This
way, your pet will learn to socialize with canines and humans
from the puppy-hood stage. Of course, if your puppy has any
behavioral issues, you want to tackle it the earliest, take an
obedience class if needed. Once your puppy is trained, it becomes
easier to have him make friends with the neighbors or the
Socialization opportunities for your pet
There are many places where you can find socialization
opportunities for your dog. A dog park is a common place where
pets can interact with other pets in a monitored safe
environment. If your dog gets along well with any of the other
pets, then you can talk to the pet parent and arrange a play-date
for the pets in the future. Obedience training classes are also
a good place for pets to bond. You get to discuss and compare the
progress and challenges of your pets with other pet parents at
these training sessions.An animal rescue shelter, can give your
pet a chance to socialize with other pets and animal lovers. Of
course, you want to talk to the staff at the animal shelter
beforehand to understand if there are pets which have behavioral
problems, and not suited for socialization at present. Some pet
owners even take their dogs when they are going to pet stores, so
they can meet other pet owners. Of course, a pet store is not one
of the first places where you want to look if you want to help
your pet socialize, as most people are there to pick up pet supplies and move out, rather than stick
around and have a conversation.
How to Socialize Your New Dog with Your Existing Dog?
Getting your new dog and your existing dog befriend each other
takes time and patience. Canines need their time to get to know
each other. If introductions are properly planned, keeping your
dogs' feelings in mind, then your dogs can become best pals for
Here are a few ways to make introductions smoother for your dogs:
Introduce them on leash
Take your dogs to a spacious outdoor area. Choose an area that
your existing dog is not territorial about as this could spark an
immediate hostility between the dogs.
For more neutral grounds, consider your neighbor's backyard, a
tennis court (perhaps your local community sports court could
help), or other such areas.
If getting an outdoor area is difficult, chose indoors with
enough space to let two dogs on leash roam about without
breaching into the other’s area.
The idea here is to introduce the dogs to each other without them
undergoing any stress.
Walk the Dogs
Keep the dogs on a leash and take them on a walk. Keep them 10
feet apart so that they are aware of each other but not too close
to growl, stare, or exchange other hostilities. Walk them for a
while. Then swap their places so that each dog now walks on the
area used by the other dog.
This way, each dog will be introduced to the scent of the other.
Dogs usually get to know other dogs on the basis of their urine.
So, let them sniff each other’s potty spots.
Bring the Dogs Closer
Retain the leash on the dogs. Get them close enough to sniff each
other. Let them sniff each other's scent for a few minutes. They
drag them back gently. If they seem interested in each other and
are willing to play, let them do so for a few minutes and then
pull them back.
Allow the dogs closer to each other as long as there are no hard
stares, growls, or other hostilities toward each other. If your
dogs do not seem relaxed and seem stiff, tense, or frozen in
their place, then pull them back.
You could try another session of walking them again and bringing
them closer the next day. If you are unsure, consider getting the
assistance of a professional dog behaviorist.
Remove the Leashes
If the dogs seem comfortable enough around each other, remove the
leashes and allow them to get closer. Look for positive body
signs such as a play bow. Dogs use the play bow to show
friendliness; they rest their elbows on the ground and lift their
rear in the air in this gesture. Also, watch out for gestures of
respect, such as to give and take by both the dogs.
If you find these positive interactions, let them be together for
some more time. Then bring the session to an end with a brief
stroll with the dogs giving each other company.
Bring your New Dog
It is now time to introduce your new dog to its new home. Keep
the resident dog outside when you bring the new dog home. This
way, the new dog can explore its home freely.
Then bring the resident dog inside. Choose a place that is not as
cramped as the meeting place. Keep objects such as dog toys and
feeding bowls away from sight at the meeting place to avoid
conflict between the dogs. Monitor the dogs daily for signs of
hostility and intervene immediately in such cases. Divert the
dogs’ attention to something else. Allow them to have some
me-time. Keep their mealtimes separate. Seek help from a friend
who understands canines all through the process.