New dog owners and not so new dog owners are all too often not well-informed, when it comes to dog socialization. socializing your dog isn’t just about socializing your dog with other dogs, it’s about getting your dog out and about, visiting new places, meeting new people, experiencing new sights and sounds because the world isn’t a quiet place. Even if you live rural, it’s a good idea to take your dog out and about.
You often hear by (not all) well-meaning experts, “You must socialize your dog” “if you want a well socialized dog, your dog should meet as many dogs as possible. or you may have problems later on”.
Unfortunately, all too often they neglect to say the dogs you introduce your dog to, should be friendly, non aggressive/non dominant dogs. Reality is, your dog should only socialize with dogs you personally know, who are friendly, non aggressive and non dominant.
Even puppy and obedience classes can contribute to behaviour problems in dogs, if not run correctly.
A bad experience especially at a young age with an unfamiliar dog, situation or person may cause behaviour problems, such as aggression or timidness.
For example: a dog rushes up to your dog and stares at it in the face, barks or jumps at it, or on it, your dog may feel intimated or frightened. If your dog is attacked by another dog, your dog , may become dog aggressive. The same can happen with children, if they have had a bad experience early on in life, it can stay with them and influence their behaviour, later on in life.
The same can be said when you introduce your dog to unfamiliar people, places or situations, Don’t force your dog into any situation that clearly makes him uncomfortable or stressed. Take things slowly, so your dog has good associations. It’s all about your dog, it’s not about you and what you think your dog needs or should be able to handle.
If you encounter a situation where your dog becomes apprehensive or a bit scared/aggressive DO NOT pat your dog and say “Its OK” by doing that you have just praised your dog for being scared/aggressive. Instead, gently tell him “No”, get your dog to focus on you, so you can help him behave more naturally, do some obedience, canine parkour, or whatever else your dog enjoys and sometimes if that means removing your dog from the situation, to a place where your dog feels more comfortable, that’s ok.
Click on the links below to read more about socializing your dog.