A properly socialized dog can adapt well to any given situation – can get along well with all the pets of the family and all the members of the household. Socialization is one way of developing a dog into a good canine citizen that will be a most valued companion of the family. Proper socialization prevents the development of unwanted behavior and turns the dog into a happy and well behaved member of the family. A first time dog owner may have heard about the necessity to socialize the pet, of the benefits of socialization but how is a dog socialized.
In spite of the fact that dogs are acclaimed to be social creatures, some individuals would not interact well with people and with other animals as dogs too have different personalities. Expect a nervous or shy dog to react with fear or aggression when exposed to new faces or situations. A dominant one would try to control not only other animals but humans as well. Providing the basic needs of the dog is not the only responsibility of a pet owner. It is the responsibility of the pet owner to ensure that the pet is properly socialized so that it will grow into a well adjusted pet that can adapt to any situation and can interact with people and animals.
Socializing the pet is best started when the dog is about 8 to 16 weeks old. But this does not mean that older dogs cannot be socialized. Making an older dog less sensitive to fear would take more effort. The curious nature of puppies and the fact that young dogs have not yet formed habits make socialization younger dogs a lot easier.
As soon as the vet has given the GET-GO, the puppy must be introduced to everything that it will be exposed to when it gets older. Start by regularly grooming your dog so that it can get used to being touched. These handling exercises will prepare the dog so that it will not react aggressively to being touched by the vet, by a child in the park or by a neighbor or a guest in the future.
Let the pet mingle with other dogs by taking the dog to the local dog park or enrolling the pet to an obedience class. It is necessary to give the pet a chance to meet as many people as possible and to be exposed to varied situations. Whenever there’s a chance take the dog along. The dog’s favorite treats will be positive reinforcements that will entice the dog to interact with people and other animals. The socialization efforts will be all worth it as the dog will grow into a well adjusted and well mannered pet.