The socialization of the dog
The socialization is the process by which your puppy learn to relate to other dogs and humans. Through socialization, your dog will also learn to get along with other animals and to differentiate children from adults. On the other hand, habituation is the process by which the dog learns to ignore environmental elements that are not dangerous. In this way, a dog accustomed to a city environment will not worry about traffic noise or the presence of many people on the streets.
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Although the socialization and habituation are conceptually different, in this article of YourCatCareguide we consider both within the process of socialization of the dog. Therefore, for practical purposes, the socialization of the dog is the process by which will accustom your pet to react in an appropriate way (without fear or aggression) to different environments, people, other dogs and other animals.
Why is socialization so important?
The socialization of the dog is indispensable in their education since this will prevent aggressive and fearful behavior in the future. In addition, a well-socialized dog is easier to train and can be accepted more easily by other people and animals.
What happens if you do not socialize your dog?
If you decide not to socialize your dog, in the future you will have at your side a dog with clear social deficiencies, be it showing itself to be frightening or aggressive. Clearly unsuited to your surroundings. Also, it will be very difficult to take your dog for a walk, to the veterinarian or anywhere, because he will be afraid of everything and will not be able to rely on an everyday situation. How can you tell if your dog is well socialized? A simple rule to evaluate this day the following: if the owner is not afraid of something, then the dog should not either.
The socialization of the dog
As with other animals, including humans, the socialization of the dog is a lifelong process . However, the critical period occurs from birth to the twelfth week (third month). That is, your puppy will have many difficulties to suit his surroundings if not properly socialized before three months.
Keep in mind that the critical period of dog socialization may vary for each individual. In fact, many experts consider that the critical period ends at week 16 (four months). The important point is that the faster you start socializing the dog, the more guarantees of success you will have.
How to socialize the dog?
Socializing a dog is very simple: it should introduce you to different people and pets on a regular basis. Receiving visits at home or simply a walk where they meet other dogs are good options to start this process. It is important that you notice how the dog sees its owner .
Contrary to what some people think, you should not worry so much about the size of the other dogs but about the character they have. Ensuring a positive interaction and playful environment will help your puppy realize that relating is positive and fun.
It will also be very important to resort to different environments for example, the woods and the cities, both are very different and your dog should learn to feel comfortable in both if you will have to go through both on a regular basis.
Details to take into account:
- All dogs that play with your dog have to be healthy, thus avoid any possible contagion of diseases.
- Do not forget the importance of bite inhibition.
- All these dogs have to be sociable dogs. This is normal with puppies from eight to 12 weeks, so it should not be a concern. However, if you can get an older playmate, make sure you are sociable. To do this, watch how this dog interacts with other dogs before joining them with yours.
- Do not socialize your dog in parks or other public places without it having all the vaccines in day . You can organize healthy dog meetings at your home or at someone’s home. This will keep your puppy from getting sick.
- Supervise all your dog’s interactions with other dogs.
The socialization of the adult dog
As previously explained, adult dogs that were not socialized usually show fear-related behaviors, either by hiding or barking in an intimidating way to other dogs and people. The unknown situations cause them fear and insecurity .
You should know that socializing an adult dog is a very complicated task since adult dogs have very much rooted the fear and discomfort that causes them a situation the unknown environment. The patience is the key to help our dog to understand the surroundings in which they live and should be progressive and treated with great care.
In YourCatCareguide we recommend always carry out the process of socializing the adult dog under the hand of professionals, since they are able to correctly identify the physical signs of our dog.
How to socialize an adult dog?
The process can vary infinitely depending on the degree of discomfort that the dog feels before certain stimuli. A dog that has serious problems in relating to other dogs, barking in excess and getting to bite should not be forced in any way to relate, and it can be considered a success to prevent barking.
Behaviors that are very ingrained are complicated to deal with and should always be accompanied by an ethologist or canine educator expert in this type of situations. The ideal if we do not have enough resources to appeal to a professional is to help the dog using positive reinforcement rewarding the situations in which he is receptive and trying to avoid encounters that cause him an obvious discomfort and nervousness.
Although many dogs can modify a behavior that causes them fear, the truth is that it is very complicated to treat and even more so for a person without prior experience in animal behavior. Especially in this type of cases, we must make sure that the encounters with other dogs and people are always very positive and rewarding for the dog.
Have treats handy , watch the animal’s safety (put a muzzle if you think it is convenient), understand your situation and treat it with patience are the key. Do not force a dog to do something he does not want and do not expose him to situations that cause him discomfort. Practicing basic obedience daily can be a good tool to help overcome your fears and improve your communication. Discover some canine training tricks for a better understanding.
If you want to read the similar articles in The Dog Socialization , we recommend that you enter our section of Basic Education .