The Benefits of Socialization for Your Dog

The Benefits of Socialization for Your Dog

Benefits of Socialization for Your Dog

by Guest Writer: Martin William

The Benefits of Socialization for Every Dog

The Benefits of Socialization for Your Dog

If you own a dog, you probably know that there are two sides to the pet ownership coin.  On the one hand, there are the joys of having a pet.  On the other, however, is the work that goes into keeping your pet happy, healthy and safe.  The responsibilities of owning a dog include regular checkups, daily walks, feeding, hygiene, and more.  To help your dog assimilate with the family and with strangers when you are out in public, consider socialization classes.

Essentially, dog socialization classes such as the ones offered by Awesome K9 are designed to introduce your dog to new experiences and allow him to get accustomed, or socialized, to these situations so they know how to act and react appropriately.  These situations can include things like when people come to your door, when they encounter other animals while they are on a walk, etc.

The Benefits of Socialization for Your Dog
Daniel M Hendricks, Flickr

Through socialization, the dog learns what is considered appropriate behaviour in a variety of situations.  They learn to be gentle around children, for example, and not to be aggressive toward other dogs they may encounter while on a walk.  They learn not to bite or nip at people and how to not jump up on people who enter your home.  Socialization will help you have a happy and confident dog who is trained to react comfortably and appropriately to his environment.

One important note, however:  Never force your dog to socialize.  Although it is good to encourage your dog to interact positively with other dogs, they must do it when they are ready.  Otherwise, forced socialization can make your dog territorial and aggressive.  That’s the very opposite of what you are trying to achieve!

It’s best to start your socialization around 8 to 12 weeks of age.  At this point, they are young enough to learn very quickly, but old enough to understand what it is that is expected of them.  Wait too long, and their behaviours will already be learned and ingrained, making them much harder to change.  Also, by the time they are over 12 weeks of age, dogs have already become afraid of certain situations.  It can be very difficult to “convince” a dog not to be afraid in certain situations. Start too early, and your efforts will be in vain as the dog won’t have the attention or retention necessary to learn what he will be taught.

The Benefits of Socialization for Your Dog
Mitch Barrie, Flickr

Socializing your dog through socialization classes is basically about two things.  First, it’s about teaching appropriate behaviour in a variety of scenarios.  Secondly, it’s about teaching your dog not to be afraid in certain situations.  Certain breeds of dogs can be very timid and tend to shy away from social situations, so it’s important to socialize them so that they can be an involved part of your family.  The best way to socialize your dog is to send them to a reputable trainer who specializes in socialization.  They will teach your dog everything he needs to know about how to be an engaged, happy, social puppy without being aggressive or afraid in social situations.

The Benefits of Socialization for Your Dog

by Guest Writer: Martin William



You might also enjoy: How to Stop Your Dog From Being a Lunatic in Public Places



Does your dog have socialization issues? What steps are you taking to remedy the situation?



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8 thoughts on “The Benefits of Socialization for Your Dog

  1. And I will look into an obedience and/or socialization class for him. I think the SPCA we adopted him from has free classes and I know they have paid ones at PetSmart or PetCo (I always get them mixed up). I’ll check into them. Thanks for the suggestions. 🙂

    • It’s PetSmart and I don’t know how much it costs these days, but I imagine it’s affordable. You could check the local bulletin board at your local vet as well for obedience classes. I guarantee you it will be the smartest thing you’ve ever done. It’s quite a feeling of accomplishment too, to see your dog grow and creates a bond like no other. It’s just different.

      I took Star, my German Shepherd (no longer with us, sadly) to 4 or 5 different classes. First it was because she was a lunatic, and after that it was because it was so much fun. We even did agility classes. I wrote about our experiences here. My biggest decision to take her was because she almost pulled me in front of a semi. I don’t think I mentioned in the article that I was pregnant at the time.

      How to Stop Your Dog From Being a Lunatic in Public Places
      (How to Stop Your Dog From Being a Lunatic in Public Places

      In any case, all the very best to you and your pooch. I hope all goes well, and more. 🙂

  2. Unfortunately we can’t build a fence since we are just renting. We are going to have to go back to the leash. I would feel awful if he bit someone. He is such a loving dog to us…he just gets somewhat unpredictable around strangers. For everyone’s safety a leash is what we need to do…and he’s supposed to be on one anyway…we just got so comfortable (lazy) at our old place.

    • I do know exactly what you mean about being comfortable at your old place. Not lazy at all, probably, since your dog (and everybody else) was most likely safe and content. Our dogs have always been free-roam, but we live on a farm. It would break my heart to have to see them be confined now, at this point, after so much freedom. Even our 2 raccoons were free to roam. 🙂 (They left as they matured, on their own, at 11 and 13 months.) Thanks for responding!

  3. Mickey is a nearly 2 year old rat terrier. He has some issues related to not being socialized to strangers at an earlier age by his previous owners. He is very protective and has a few things he does when he sees a stranger. First is the low growl. Often he will do this if he sees someone walking past our window or at a distance when he is outside. Sometimes he doesn’t do this, but usually he does. When he doesn’t, I praise him. When he does, he either gets sent inside or is told in a stern voice to “be quiet” “be nice” or “hush.” Lately though he will run up to a stranger if they are walking past our house to get to theirs (we live in a townhouse development). He gets close to them and either hops on all four legs and barks or more concerning will get so close that his snout is almost touching their leg. We got into the habit at our old house of letting him outside without a leash. We would be with him, but he would have somewhat free roam since there was rarely anyone else around. At the new place there are more people and I was hoping he would start getting used to seeing them. 🙁

    • That does sound troubling, Emily. Sounds to me like the more people … the greater the threat for him. As difficult as it might be for you, I would suggest keeping him on-leash now. Our dogs have always been free-roam here too since we live in the country, so I know what you’re going through. Can you build a fence around his yard? You don’t want him biting anyone, especially a child. I suggest you look around a dog obedience school and/or socialization classes for Mickey. It will make you both feel more at ease. Keep us posted! All the best. 🙂

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