Why Is It Important to Socialize Dogs?
Dogs are social creatures, but that doesn’t always mean that being social comes naturally. Canines learn how to socialize through observation, experience, and most importantly, their pawrents!
Photo by Camilo Fierro
What Is Dog Socialization?
Socialization is a process that introduces your fur baby to new people, places, pets, and experiences so that they can confidently and comfortably navigate the world. While canines are naturally social animals, as with humans, proper socialization is something that is learned. It’s up to pawrents to teach dogs how to respond to and act in new situations.
Why Is Dog Socialization Important?
Appropriate behavior isn’t the only reason to socialize dogs. Proper socialization aids canines in developing coping mechanisms and tolerances that will curb issues like separation anxiety and overall stress down the line.
How Do I Socialize My Dog?
Start young and start slow in order to encourage positive associations with social encounters. The sooner socialization starts, the easier it is. And the more dogs are exposed to early on, the less frightening or stressful those types of experiences become when they’re older.
The kinds of of exposure that can help dogs are:
- Interacting with different types of people: Have your dog interact with people of different ages, sizes, genders, shapes, and ethnicities. A doggo who is only around calm, reserved adults may find being around active children stressful if they’re not accustomed to them. Introducing different groups of people also helps dogs to become familiar with various kinds of body language, making it easier for pups to engage with them appropriately.
- Exposing dogs to various kinds of sounds and activities: Expose dogs to people doing different kinds of activities so that they can understand that they are non-threatening movements. Activities that may be scary can become manageable once they’re familiar. Crying babies, singing children, dancing teens, and vacuuming adults are just some examples.
- Helping them make dog fur-rends: Fur buddies can be incredibly beneficial, as they can help dogs feel comfortable interacting with other animals or environments in which they’ll encounter other animals. Start with one consistent dog buddy who your pooch feels safe around to encourage socialization with other dogs in general. Planning to have some furry friends over? Take necessary precautions to properly socialize your dog without creating situations that encourage jealousy or territorial aggression. Make sure your pup has their very own real bark pet potty to prevent any territorial behavior. A pee pad like Bark Potty can help dogs feel more secure about having their own potty if there are other canines in their space.
- Introducing them to new environments: Whether you’re thinking of having a small backyard BBQ, inviting the grandkids over, or heading to a bustling dog beach, slowly introduce your dog to group settings so that they don’t feel overwhelmed. Try a quiet park with minimal foot traffic before attempting the farmer’s market, or have 1-2 friendly faces over before throwing a raucous NYE party, so that your pup can gradually grow accustomed to higher levels of activity.