Socializing Your Dog With People

The thing to remember when socializing your dog with people: quality and quantity go together!

You want your dog to have as many positive experiences with people as possible in its formative months. You want your dog to experience going to people’s homes, people coming to your house, going to the park, walking on the street, going to the store, meeting the mailman. As many diverse experiences as possible.

Here’s how quantity ties into quality. Let’s say you’re taking your dog Moochie out for a walk and a man scares him and steps on his tail! If Moochie has met 50 men on past walks and 40 of them ignored him and 10 of them either gave him or a treat or gave him a pat on the head, then Moochie’s opinion of this particular man will be “hey this guy is weird and strange! he’s nothing like most of the men I’ve met before.”

I am a firm believer that socialization trumps inherited temperment. Some breeds are inclined to be more people-aggressive, some are inclined to have a high prey drive and need to be watched more around other animals. However, I think it is a cop-out when owners blame the dog’s temperment completely or disproportionately. Some breeds may need more attention or focus in certain areas than others, but with a diligent owner making socialization a top priority in a dog’s early life, you can have confidence that your dog is stable and shouldn’t have any incidents.

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