Socializing Your Dog: Part 1

Hand in hand with training your dog to obey you, socialization is one of the most important aspects in raising a dog. With improper or lacking socialization in a dog’s early life, it can be very difficult and even impossible to alter the resulting behavior when it is an adult. That’s not to say that socialization isn’t a continuing process– it is, and needs to be done for a dog at all stages of his life. But for this article we are going to focus on puppy socialization, which is the single biggest factor for determining how your dog will behave around people, other pets, and different social environments.

Generally, the goal of socialization is to give your dog a view of life and the world around him as safe and friendly and not hostile, unpredictable and scary. A wary dog is unpredictable and can turn aggressive when it feels threatened.

The first step to socialization is exposure. You want to guide your pup through as many different environments and encounters with different kinds of people and animals as possible. Be careful where you choose to take them though, and always reassure your pup. Don’t take a young pup to a busy street with all kinds of trauma waiting around the corner like careless bicyclers and loud cars. Traumatizing your dog is only going to make things harder for you.

Next time: specifics of people socialization!

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