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The Importance of Socializing your Dog

 The Importance of Socializing your Dog

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One of the most important things you need to do as a dog owner is teach him socialization. This is not obedience or manners but the lesson of being able to handle other pets and children. Puppies need early socialization, which plays a key role in their behavior as an adult. Therefore, when you look at puppies from breeders, always find out the ways in which the puppy was socialized. Was the puppy played with daily? Was he kept with other puppies? Was the puppy cuddled and loved on? All of these things are crucial.

Then, when your dog is around eight weeks of age, you will need to introduce him to other animals, which can be dogs, cats, or some other type of animal. From there until around age 18 months, you would continue taking your dog to the local park where he can meet other dogs. You also want to introduce the puppy to children. Even if you have no children, you can again, head to the park, take your puppy to a neighbor’s house where children live, and so on. He needs to understand that animals and children are okay, noise and all.

By exposing your dog to different animals, people, and situations, he will be able to handle obedience training better and will overall, make a better pet. After all, you will be taking your dog on walks, to the groomer, to the vet, on trips, and similar things, all situations where socialization is needed. That way, you are not constantly chasing down your dog, or trying to get him to mind, which is frustrating for you and for him.

Dogs are often distracted by stimuli. For instance, while at the park, he will be noticing everything going on around him. Unless he is accustomed to the activity, sights, and sounds, he will have a difficult time minding. However, if your dog has been properly socialized, he will pay little attention to the goings on, making your time with him more enjoyable.

Remember, a dog is never too old to be socialized. Now, if you find that you have adopted an adult dog from a kennel, only to discover he needs help with socialization, you need to get started immediately. That does not mean throwing him into situations with other animals and children, which would make him fearful. Instead, you can make gradual introductions, starting with one other dog and then a child. As you go through the introduction period, especially with the children, watch the dog’s reaction. If you notice any growling, sneering, or stiffening of the body, pull him back.

In the case of adopting an adult dog, you are probably taking on another person’s problem. That does not mean you have a bad dog, just one you know little about yet. Therefore, during the initial socialization, pay attention to ensure he handles things well. If not, then work with him slowly and over time. If he does not become better, you may want to talk to a professional trainer for advice.