Unlike cats, most dogs are social and like to stay with other dogs and people. Thus socialization is important to dogs. Socializing your dog means teaching it to be polite and well-behaved around other animals and humans. Learning social skills when your dog is just a puppy is crucial for it to deal with animals and people it is not familiar with. Furthermore, this helps them look clear when it comes to uncertain things in the future.
Why is it so important?
Socialization can help dogs build confidence and make them feel comfortable in a new environment. If they do not learn socialization as puppies, they may have a tough time dealing with other dogs and people due to fear or aggression problems. In fact, they are more likely to use aggression to deal with new things in moments of fear.
If not socialized properly, unfamiliar animals or people may contribute to a stressful experience for puppies, which can further impact their behavior negatively. Moreover, puppies learn how to socialize with different dogs so that they know how to get along with them and make friends.
When to start socializing?
Ideally, dogs should receive social training when they are between 3 and 20 weeks old. It is a great period of learning in a dog's life. During this time, puppies are not fearful when they are exposed to a variety of sights, sounds, smells, and sensations, as well as new objects. Dogs are born as explorers, and they are curious about things they haven't encountered before.
There is a popular debate about whether you should get your puppy vaccinated before exposing it to other animals. Here, I would recommend getting your pet vaccinated before socializing them to prevent any type of illness.
If, for some reason, your dog didn't learn socialization as a puppy, it's never too late to socialize it with others. Especially when your dog doesn't get along with other dogs or isn't friendly towards visitors. A well-behaved dog will be much confident and happy while hanging out with other dogs or people.
How to socialize dogs with others?
Gradually introducing your puppy to other people, animals, and new things is the key to socialization. Remember giving it treats when it does a good job!
Frequent walks are also a great way to introduce your puppy to other people and dogs. Make sure they also know how to interact with your puppy in a positive way and never force it if it doesn't want someone to get close to it. Let other people treat your puppy when it behaves nicely. Make sure to stay by your puppy's side during this period and encourage it to approach other people.
Take your puppy to the dog park. If your puppy behaves well around other people and dogs, you could take it to the dog park. This will encourage your puppy to make new friends.
Invite friends and their dogs to your home. It's not enough to expose your puppy to the dogs outside your home. While your puppy may behave well outside, it can get irritated or angry when any other dog visits your place. Try inviting other dogs to your home who are familiar with your puppy. Encourage them to play with one another and give them treats.
Socialize your puppy and give them the confidence they require to live a happy life!