two adult harrier dogs standing beside river

Proper Socialization: What It Is, and What It Isn’t!

Creating a Well-Behaved Canine Companion

Whether you just got a new dog or puppy or adopted an older dog from the pound, it’s important to remember that their entire world has just turned upside-down. While you may have the best of intentions, your canine companion needs more than just love and affection to thrive. In this blog post, we’ll cover some basic tips for proper socialization, helping your dog become the best they can be.

  1. Not Everyone Needs to Pet Your Dog

It’s much better for your dog to have calm interactions with strangers than to be overwhelmed by people who may behave in a way that’s perceived as threatening or rude. High-pitched voices, rough petting, or looming over your dog can be scary, and this fear can lead to aggression later if the dog feels trapped and needs to defend itself.

  1. Your Dog Doesn’t Need to Greet Every Dog or Person

If your dog is allowed to drag you over to every other dog, they’ll come to expect this behavior, regardless of your desires or the other dog’s comfort. Not every dog wants to interact with an energetic dog or puppy, and forcing such interactions can lead to discomfort or even aggression. Teaching your dog to remain calm around other dogs is essential for their well-being.

dog near people on pavement
  1. Playtime Should Be Reserved for Appropriate Times and Places

Not all dogs like puppies or other dogs, and playtime should be reserved for appropriate moments. Teaching your dog how to behave around other dogs starts with learning how to be calm during introductions. Remember, not every interaction is an invitation to play.

  1. Human Hands Are Not Toys

Reinforce that human body parts, including hands, are not playthings for your dog. Puppy teeth are sharp, and human flesh is soft – a dangerous combination that can lead to injury or fear.

  1. Humans Aren’t Treat Dispensers

While using food and treats for teaching obedience is helpful, it’s easy to overdo it. Dogs should be motivated by their relationship with you, not just by treats or toys. Use these rewards sparingly to maintain their desirability.

photo of person feeding dog outside
  1. Reserve Excitement for Playtime

Daily activities like feeding, walking, or coming home shouldn’t be the most exciting parts of your dog’s day. Excitement should be reserved for playtime and off-leash moments. Over-excitement can lead to behavioural problems that become harder to correct as your dog ages.

Set Your Dog up for Success

By focusing on proper socialization from day one and paying attention to the state of mind you’re reinforcing, you’ll have a much better chance of raising a well-behaved adult dog. This approach will make their adolescence easier to navigate and minimize potential behaviour problems as they grow.

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