How to Help Your Dog Socialize

How to Help Your Dog Socialize

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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 mailman. 

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 life.

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 otherโ€™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 otherโ€™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 Indoors

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 dogsโ€™ 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.

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