Socializing your dog essentially means getting your dog used to life outside the house. When you socialize a dog you are introducing it to the sights and sounds of your world and helping him/her to see it as normal. There are simple ways to do this and the benefits are many for both you and your pup.
Why should you socialize your dog?
An under-socialized dog could become too excited or even aggressive with strangers and can harm someone seriously.
If a dog is well accustomed to being out in public you can enjoy doing lots of things with your pet like going to the park without serious concern over your pets behavior. Your dog will be able to enjoy these outings and even “mingling” with other dogs without fights.
Dogs that haven’t been socialized are unpredictable and dangerous. A well-socialized dog is a calm, confident, and happy one.
There are a few simple ways to teach your dog to be comfortable and well behaved outside of the home. Something key in beginning this process is to remember to repeat the same lessons daily so that they are not forgotten. If you are patient with your pet and have a positive attitude you will succeed.
Some socialization methods include:
Enroll in an obedience class to teach you positive ways of training your dog.
Take your dog out with you into the streets. Bring lots of treats for a reward to reinforce positive behavior. Be sure your pet is secured on a leash first, of course.
Allow your dog to experience the sounds and sights of cars going by, people walking past and other animals being around. The more you do this the more accustomed to it your dog will become.
While you will be tempted to punish the dog if it behaves badly, you should just ignore it. The kinds of bad behavior that you should ignore are jumping, barking, leash jerking or biting, and other attempts to get your attention or go free. Rather than harshly punishing the dog, you should simply try to redirect its attention toward you. Only reward or praise any desired reaction like calmly walking, sniffing around, or sitting patiently. This will teach the dog to only do those things because they are good.
Take your dog everywhere you are allowed and expose it to as many different places and situations as possible.
Socializing your dog is just one of the many other ways to strengthen the bond between dog and owner. If you continue to train your dog in this way you will see results that will benefit both you and your pet. Remember that a confident dog is a happy one.