Socializing your puppy is one of the most important things you can do for your dog’s future. Here are 3 tips to help you out.
What is Socializing Your Puppy?
Socializing is the process of your teaching your puppy to get along with other dogs. Your puppy should be able to get along or meet other dogs without freaking out.
It shouldn’t matter on the size of the other dog, or how the dog is acting. Your dog should be able to meet other dogs calmly.
If your dog gets aggressive with other dogs, you’ll be in for a lot of worry for the life of your dog. So let’s get into how to socialize your dog.
Get Some Puppy Perspective
What’s Puppy perspective? It’s the first thing you need when you socialize your puppy. The more you understand how your dog thinks, the more effective the training.
It helps to understand what motivates your puppy. At this stage, a big part of how a puppy responds to other dogs is fear.
New puppies are not naturally disposed to want to meet other dogs. In the wild a puppy would interact with the other dogs in their pack, but it would not go out and socialize with other dogs they would meet in the wild.
This means we are already working against the dogs natural disposition. The dogs naturally feel fear of other dogs.
The more you understand this, the better you’ll be able to approach socializing your puppy.
Create Positive Associations for Meeting New Dogs
The challenge then for dog owners is to create a positive association for your puppy when meeting other dogs. We want our puppies to be able to overcome their natural fear.
How do we do that? The same way we want to reward any behavior in our dogs. The main ones are praise, treats and toys.
Never under estimate the power of praise, but dogs love treats too! You can use these or something similar.
Sidenote on Socializing Your Puppy
One of the biggest mistakes that people make when socializing a puppy is that they assume that just because their puppy lives with another dog it has been socialized.
Many times someone will bring home a new puppy and they already have a four-year-old dog. Those two dogs get along great but the first time that puppy meets another dog or goes to the dog park the puppy freaks out.
The dog in that situation hasn’t been socialized. That dog has simply learned to live with the other dog. The point is to not assume that your puppy has been socialized just because you have another dog.
Dogs Know How to be Dogs
What does that mean? It means that one of the best ways for your dog to learn how to socialize is to find some older dogs with good dispositions. You want dogs that are calm and react well to each other.
Dogs know how to be dogs. People are not good at showing dogs had to be dogs. That is why it is good to find other dogs that behave appropriately so that they can teach your puppy.
Ideally you want to find older dogs that are calm, tolerant, and not aggressive. If you watch an older dog interact with the younger dog you’ll see that they get snippy sometimes.
This is a dog telling the younger dog off. A person really can’t tell a dog off like another dog can. This is how puppies learn from older dogs.
Socialization does not mean that your dog has to run around and play with every dog he or she meets. Socialization simply means that your dog can tolerate other dogs without getting aggressive.
Ideally you want your dog to be able to meet all different types of dogs. You want them to be able to meet big dogs and dogs, excited dogs and calm dogs. You want them to be ready for anything.