Socialization: Your dog has no friends
Is your dog a social butterfly or a solitary creature that prefers your affection over canine interaction? There may be socializing methods you can apply to better understand your dog’s behavior and how to improve or manage it.
The importance of socializing should not be underestimated. Images of happy pooches romping around a dog park or playing peacefully in a backyard make everyone smile. That is until they try it with their dog and it turns into an embarrassing social situation. The difference between these two scenarios lies in socialization. It’s difficult to make your dog sit down and listen to lectures about why he or she shouldn’t growl, bite, bare teeth or perform the dreaded rear mount when coming in contact with fellow canines. Don’t worry – it may not be a lost cause. There are some socializing methods you can apply to understand and prevent these worrisome problems from happening.
Begin Socialization Right Away
If you are adopting a new puppy – then you are in luck! This is a developmental stage that can be easily molded to produce better behavior later in life. Make sure you plan frequent outings with your pup. If you know someone that has a dog-friendly canine, then schedule play dates. Look for doggy day cares that offer interaction opportunities or sign up for local training classes with other dogs and their owners. Even bringing Fido along while you run errands or go for a jog is a chance to acclimate him or her to social situations.
It should be noted that socializing a puppy does not mean tossing your little one into a group of bigger dogs then walking away for a chat. You must remain involved to make sure that no one gets too rough. A young pup that has a negative experience can show behavior problems later on. You don’t want to be a helicopter parent, just need to be diligent.
Socializing Adult Dogs
Socializing a new puppy sounds nice and all, but what do you do if your pet is already a grown up? Adult dogs have had ample time to learn behaviors – both bad and good. When introducing your canine to others for the first time, keep him or her on leash. This gives you a way to stay in communication with your pet without completely relinquishing control until you feel they are ready. Also remember to remain calm and relaxed, like the cool and collected leader your dog needs. If you stand rigid, keep the leash tense or show signs of stress, your dog will pick up on that and react accordingly.
Begin with socializing sessions involving just one or two other dogs that are well behaved. Don’t be afraid to step in and correct your canine if he or she gets too rowdy or shows poor-etiquette with both humans and canines. If your pet is territorial, then make a point to plan the initial encounters in a neutral environment rather than in your home where your dog will feel compelled to defend his or her property.
Some Breeds Just Weren’t Meant to Socialize
If your dog doesn’t seem to be making much progress, this could be normal. Some breeds are known not to be as dog-friendly as others. The American Pit Bull Terrier, Chow Chow, Akita, Neapolitan Mastiff, Shar Pei, Black Russian Terrier and Dogue de Bordeaux are some of the tougher breeds to train.
There could also be individual characteristics that influence the way the dog handles social interactions. You may know or be a person who isn’t fond of visitors and crowded places. Just like some human beings dislike social interactions with their own kind, some dogs dislike encounters with other dogs. Puppies that are not given the full six to eight weeks with their mother and litter mates are also more likely to display this kind of anti-dog behavior as adults.
If you feel that your dog’s social behavior cannot be changed, then make arrangements to prevent contact with other canines. If the problem is serious or unmanageable, you may want to seek the assistance of a dog behavior expert. Many people have dogs that simply do not do well around others. Whether they show aggression or are disinterested in socializing, they can still be a good pet.