As much as we pet parents want to keep our fur babies all to ourselves, that’s not always possible. Even if you live alone, you still have to contend with grocery and takeout delivery drivers, home maintenance technicians, and neighbors. It’s a good idea to make sure that your dog is socialized so they’re comfortable in social situations around the inevitable stranger or two. Don’t worry, we’re here to walk you through the process of how to socialize a dog.
What is Dog Socialization
Dog socialization is simply making sure that your dog is comfortable with its environment and the people in it. Your goal is to make sure that your dog plays well with others. Give them the chance to explore all the different sights and sounds that the world has to offer. Here are a few easy ways to get started on socialization:
Socializing a Puppy
- Unfamiliar dress (hoods, sunglasses, and hats)
- Urban environments
- Cars, trucks, and motorcycles
- Neighborhood objects like bikes, strollers, and skateboards
- Parks, bodies of water, woods, and beaches
- Other dogs
One good thing about socializing a puppy is that the skills they learn will stay with them as they grow into an adult. The best time to start socializing a puppy is between 3 and 12 weeks of age. Follow the tips above for socializing an adult dog, but keep in mind that your puppy might be experiencing a wide variety of things for the first time and might become overexcited.
Make sure your puppy gets exposed to:
Keep an eye on your puppy’s behavior to make sure that they’re not scared or feeling overwhelmed by all of these new experiences.
- Your dog might move a bit slower and tire out sooner
- Make sure your dog doesn’t have any injuries before you venture out
- Check the weather-chilly temperatures can sometimes aggravate conditions like osteoarthritis
Socializing an Older Dog
Socialization might be a little bit more challenging if your dog is older than 18 weeks (about four months), but you can still use the same steps we’ve outlined above. You’ll just have to keep a few extra things in mind:
- Follow the cues — How is your dog responding to being socialized? Is your puppy trying to tell you that it’s a little too soon for them to be in a dog park?
- Proceed with caution — Sure, it’s fun to make new furry friends, but it’s probably not a good idea for your chihuahua to pal around with a Great Dane.
- Know when to go home — Has the weather taken a turn for the worst? Is your pooch tired? Is there a fight at the dog park? Know when it’s time to call it a day.
Older dogs still need exercise and positive reinforcement, so don’t let your dog’s age stop them from enjoying fun outdoor activities with other dogs.
Whatever your dog’s age, there are a few things to keep in mind when you start taking steps to properly socialize your dog:
Still have questions? We’re here to help. Contact Airvet any time-day or night-if you have any questions about socializing your dog when they have an injury or which vaccinations they should get before they start socializing with other animals.