Socialising your dog is an important and crucial role to ensure your dog’s happiness and wellbeing. It’s this time of year when you are out and about more with your dog, sometimes seeing different people, places or even seeing other dogs. So ensuring that your dog is socialised is very important.
A dog should be socialised as early as possible in his life. If your dog is socialised as a puppy this will set him in good stead later on in life, as it will help him to stay calm and relaxed in a variety of different situations. Overall this will lead to him being a happier and more confident dog.
Socialising Your Dog from a Puppy
If you can socialise your dog from the age of a puppy, this is much better as your puppy will learn about socialisation and will carry those experiences all through his adult years with him. It is crucial that socialisation occurs and that he has plenty of positive experiences.
When socialising a puppy it is best to socialise him with dogs that are of the same size so that he doesn’t feel intimidated or scared. This will give him a great opportunity to learn that other dogs make great friends.
Let your puppy decide who he wants to be friends with and give him time to approach other dogs and socialise when he feels like it. If he seems tired, carry on socialising another day otherwise he may be grumpy and could respond in a different manor to his usual self.
Ensuring your puppy is immersed in everyday situations and sounds is important. This helps him to get used to different noises and understand that they are not a threat and that he has no need to feel scared when he hears them. These kinds of noises include; thunder, the vacuum cleaner, cars hooting, children shouting & screaming, music playing, phones ringing and other loud sounds.
Socialising Your Adult Dog
If your dog hasn’t been socialised well as a youngster, he will need you to spend more time and patience with him, in order to learn that socialisation is a positive experience and not a negative one. He may have had little socialisation as a puppy, so he fears when other dogs or humans come near, or when he hears certain sounds. He could also have had a bad experience by being involved in a fight with another dog or a human mistreating him.
When socialising your adult dog take him to places where he will hear different sounds and see other dogs & people from afar. You can sit together and observe the people and other dogs so he can start to understand that none of them are a threat. When you finish observing them, you will both come away with a positive experience. Gradually over time move closer to the people, dogs and sounds. Let your dog see that you are relaxed and have no fear. Each time that your dog watches a human or dog pass by and responds positively, give him a treat. If he responds negatively move him away from the situation until he returns to a calm state.
If your dog is uneasy in a situation always respond calmly and try to carry on as normal, as over time this will help your dog to learn that there is nothing to worry about. If it is certain sounds that your dog is scared off, let him experience those sounds when you are with him and your body language should tell him there is nothing to be afraid of. After the sound give him a treat, so he starts to associate what used to be a dreaded sounded, with positive thoughts instead.
Always remember to never force your dog to engage with a dog or person who he does not wish to. Give him plenty of time, lots of encouragement and treats when he reacts positively to things. Let him meet other dogs and people gradually, not too many in one go and do not expect him to become friends straightaway with another dog or human, as it may take several meetings for him to become at ease with being around other dogs and people.