Behavior Tips & Tricks Issue #4: Socialization Training
In the last issue we talked about importance of being the boss (alpha) during your behavioral training sessions. In this issue we are going to talk about the importance of socialization and how it will affect your behavioral training sessions.
Having a dog around the house can be very fun. After all, they bring joy, laughter and companionship without even trying. However, dog ownership comes with responsibilities and you should be well aware of these responsibilities before you introduce a new dog into your home.
These responsibilities include vet checks, immunization, food, training and more. Along with these basic necessities you will also be responsible for the health and welfare of your dog. This includes behavioral training and socialization.
Dogs learn how to behave properly through socialization. When you subject them to new situations they quickly learn how to respond and behave properly. When your pet is well socialized they will be less likely to be aggressive and be well behaved when meeting new people, animals or in unfamiliar situations.
Socialization is simply the act of introducing your canine companion to new experiences, so that they can become comfortable and confident in almost any situation. These experiences can be environmental, meeting new people, as well as introducing them to other dogs and animals.
It is an extremely important part of the behavioral training process because it helps your dog become more confident and relaxed, which leads to a happy, healthy and content canine companion.
As I mentioned above, socialization training can help ensure that your dog will react in a positive, well behaved manner when presented with new people, places and things. The best time to start socializing your dog is around 8 to 12 weeks of age.
However it's never too late to start, so even if you own an older dog you can still use simple socialization techniques to help build their confidence.
With older dogs the process will often take longer and can be more difficult but it can still be accomplished with time and patience.
The key to successful socialization is that it is completely voluntary on your dogs part. You should never force your dog to socialize with other dogs or people when they aren't ready because it can have a negative of impact on their behavior. It can instill fear, make them aggressive and even lead to biting in stressful and unfamiliar situations.
When bringing home a new dog it's best to let them become familiar with their surroundings a little at a time, as we discussed in a previous issue.
Give them time to get used to one or two specific areas inside of your home and then gradually introduce them to other areas.
The same holds true with introducing them to family and friends as well.
While everyone is excited to meet the new addition to the family it's important not to overwhelm your new canine companion with too much attention right away. Try to keep the situation calm and introduce each individual separately. Allowing them to spend a few minutes getting to know each other.
When introducing your dog to a new person or experience it's important that you remain in control of the situation. Keep in mind that they look to you for cues and commands. By maintaining a calm, authoritative posture you can help them feel more confident and comfortable during the process.
It's a good idea to engage your dog to socializing activities on a regular basis. Try simple things like taking a walk, playing in the yard or going to the park at specific times or on certain days of the week. Your dog will get used to these scheduled social activities and look forward to them eagerly.
During your training sessions always remain calm in unfamiliar situations.
Your dog can read your body language and will quickly react to your cues.
When it comes to proper socialization consistency is key, so it's important to be patient and kind.
Make sure you look for your next issue soon. We will be talking about hand signals and teaching your dog how to interpret them properly.