Image courtesy: Commons.wikimedia.org/
Socialization is important for your dog's wellbeing. However, it
is not as simple as just putting your dog amidst strangers or in
a new setting and asking him to interact with them. You want to
ensure that your dog is socialized in the right way, right place,
at the right pace.
Starting off on the right note
Even if the only socialization that your puppy has had is in its
early days with the other litter pups, it is a good place to
start. Some puppies are taken into homes even before they
socialize with the litter, giving them very little exposure to
any canine social bonding. If your puppy falls under the second
category, then you want to be careful about the social setting
that he is introduced to initially. Pet owners often ignore the
effects that a bad social experience can have on such pets.A
random unpredictable social experience may leave your pet
frightened, which can culminate into aggression or fear in the
long run, well into their adulthood. Once your puppy grows
accustomed to a social scenario it becomes fairly easier, and you
will not have to be as protective of him during
socialization. Puppies that have
had their good share of positive experiences will experience
lesser shock from unpleasant social experiences in the long run.
Watching for cues
It may difficult to understand how much of socialization your pet
needs initially; you do not want too little or too much. The key
is to watch how your dog responds in a social scenario. If he is
curious or enthusiastic, then you want to continue. On the other
hand, if you notice any signs of fear, aggression or panic, and
catch him trying to run away, then that is probably not a good
sign; you want to bring that socialization episode to a stop.You
can then gradually introduce your pet to social situations and
use positive reinforcement techniques- treats or
praise- to have him grow relaxed and comfortable while
Socialization is more than meeting other dogs
Socialization is not just about dogs having interactions with
other dogs, it includes experiencing new things and situations.
It could be anything from learning how to climb up the stairs to
going to the vet. If your dog is confined to the walls of the
kennel for the most part of the day, and the only time he gets
out is during the daily walks, then you want to gradually get him
accustomed to new experiences.When you do take him to these new
places, give him the time and space to explore the different
sounds, sights, and surfaces. Once he gets used to the idea, it's
about introducing him to strangers, whether it is people, pets or
other animals. He should grow comfortable with playing, being
held or petted, without showing any signs of fear or aggression.
How to Make Your Pet More Social
Is your pet a social butterfly or people-shy? Veterinarians can
instantly tell if an animal has been socialized. Some animals
leap up and are happy to see the doctor and everyone else in the
waiting room. Others take cover behind their owner and do not
want to come out as life is stressful for them.Socialization
makes all the difference. It is the key to having a well-behaved
cat or dog. When kittens or puppies are introduced to a variety
of other animals, environments and people during the first few
weeks of their life, they do better, are not as stressed and have
relatively fewer problems later on in life. When they are young,
they take new experiences in their stride. However, as they grow
older, they become scared and nervous when they are confronted
with something or someone new.
How to go about it?
The key to is to start when they are young and introduce your new
cat or dog to as many new things as possible. Here is what you
Start when they are a few
weeks old – Kittens and puppies should be
socialized before they are sixteen weeks old. People have a
tendency to isolate their pets when they are young and
erroneously think that they will get them used to different
environments after a year. The perfect time for this kind of
pet training is between three and twelve weeks of age. The
window starts closing around eighteen weeks. The time period is
even younger for kittens. If you are going to adopt an adult
dog, you miss out on the opportunity to socialize. But even
they can get used to people they see on a regular basis.
Set goals –
Think clearly about what and who a puppy will be around as it
gets older. Make a list of things that your pet needs to be
socialized to. That includes children, crying babies, men,
women, people of different nationalities, people wearing hats,
crowds, and more. The wider the variety of people your pet is
exposed to, the better.
Expose them to different
environments – Take your puppy for a walk on
concrete, grass, through pet stores, on quiet streets, busy
streets, areas with other animals – and near trucks, cars,
trains, and buses. You can take your dog for a ride in the car
through different parts of the town, through car-washes, and
through drive-throughs. This is also the time to get them used
to being handled during grooming.
Daily schedule –
Socialize your pet every day during the first sixteen weeks.
Let strangers pet your dog.
pet – Give positive reinforcement in the form of a
small treat when your pet socializes well.
Give it 75
minutes – It takes puppies and kittens 75 minutes
to get used to a new thing. So it is important to give them
kindergarten – If your puppy has not received all
sign up for socialization classes at an animal hospital. It is
a safe environment and the classes are meant to introduce your
pet to a variety of sights, sounds and smells, and can even
assist with obedience training.