5 Ways to Socialize a Dog
Socializing your dog is very important for their health and well-being. A dog that is comfortable and social around both other dogs and humans is a dog that is often happy, healthy, and well-behaved in almost all situations and scenarios. There are many different ways to socialize your pup, but we’ve zeroed in on some key solutions. Ways to socialize your dog include walking, getting another pet, taking them to dog parks, training, and taking them on play dates.
Not only is walking beneficial due to exercise (for both you and your pup), but it also helps to socialize a dog as well. While going for walk, your pup gets to meet with other dogs in the neighborhood, and they get to familiarize themselves with the sights and scents of the neighborhood as well.
Some services, such as Rover, offer dog walking as well as “drop-in” visits. A drop-in visit is where a sitter drops-in at your home for thirty minutes a few times per week to feed and play with your dog. Since these visits involve food and play time (toys), your pup will start to associate unfamiliar humans with positive things, instead of a threat. This can do wonders for helping your dog to become friendly and more social when meeting new people.
2. Getting Another Pet
Another way to socialize your dog is to get a second pet, if your circumstances allow for it. Before getting a second pet, you’ll want to make sure you can financially afford another animal. On top of that, you need to be sure everyone in the family, including the first dog, wants the second furry friend.
Lots of households often have two dogs, on top of other pets. This is important because other pets can communicate with your dog in ways that the humans of the household cannot.
For example, some dogs may rough-house a lot, but not every dog (or human, for that
matter) wants to play that rough. A teachable moment in socialization may call for a more docile
dog to correct an excitable dog’s behavior by growling at them. This is simply a friendly way of the docile dog telling the excited dog to “knock it off!”.
This doesn’t mean that humans can’t teach dogs how to play around people, but it takes
a little more patience for both dog and human. We don’t speak the same language, so communication between human and canine will take a little work. Still harder is being a person who’s trying to teach dogs how to communicate with other dogs. Again, it’s important to make sure the first dog is fine with another in the home; two dogs who don’t get along is NOT a good thing!
3. Dog Parks
A third way is to bring your dog to a dog park. Similar to walking your dog, a dog park gives the opportunity to meet other dogs, on top of new sights and scents!
It is important to follow all dog park rules and keep close supervision on your pup and other pups at all times. One method to introducing your dog to the dog park for the first time is to start slow.
It may be a good idea to bring your dog to the dog park, but to keep them leashed, outside of the fence, and away from other dogs at first. Once they are comfortable and familiar with the new sight and scents, you could introduce them to the inside of the fence, where they can meet other dogs in a slow and controlled manner. Once you and your pup are comfortable, you can unleash them while keeping a close eye on them to make sure they are socializing properly with other dogs.
If you or your pup are uncomfortable with the dog park idea, a doggie daycare is a great option to explore. A doggie daycare is a more supervised option because there is always more than one person in the building where the daycare is. Additionally, the people supervising are trained specifically to work with dogs. They are better at understanding dog language and can break up a fight before it escalates or even before it starts.
A fourth way to socialize a dog is to take a training class with your dog. This can, of
course, be very beneficial because both you and the dog are learning something by a trained
In a training class, there are usually other people and dogs in the class. This will allow both you and your pup to learn a thing or two both from the teacher and the other canine students. On top of that, your dog will be able to socialize with other pups from the class as a result!
5. Play Dates
A fifth way to get your dog more friendly with others is a playdate. A playdate is similar to the daycare option, but it involves you meeting up with a friend and their dog.
Playdates are a great idea for dogs who might be a little more on the shy side and do better in a one-on-one setting versus a big group. Unlike some doggie daycares, there is more control over how many dogs are around your pup during a playdate.
Playdates can be more ideal than a dog park or daycare, especially if you really know and trust the pet parent you’re having a playdate with. When you trust the other person, you will likely be more relaxed. Our canine friends can sense when we are relaxed, and will be relaxed themselves as a result.
Socialization is key to a dog’s development and will make for a happier, friendlier dog
overall. Before you socialize your pup, be sure all of their vaccinations are up to date to protect them and the people and pets around them.
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About Embassy Lakes Animal Hospital
Located in Cooper City, FL, we strive to do more than simply be a full-service veterinarian for your pet. Our decades of experience has served generations of families and their beloved pets and we look forward to serving you as well!