Owning a dog is a huge responsibility. Apart from all of the other things we must do as dog owners, It is down to us to help our dogs be comfortable around other dogs and have manners that won’t show us up down at the local dog park. The best way to do this is to socialise your dog.
What is Socialisation?
From 8-12 weeks puppies go through a stage of fear imprinting. This is why it is so important to slowly introduce new sights, smells and experiences so that they do not develop fear of the unexpected such as; cars, new dogs, new people etc. This is referred to as socialisation. When introducing these things, you must ensure all experiences are positive. This period is also a great time to start introducing basic commands which will build good foundations for your dog having good doggy manners. These things have the potential to cause your dog fear on the first encounter: umbrellas, canes, wheelchairs, bikes, keys, men with beards, people in hats, young children, passing trucks, odd sounds and sudden, loud noises and other animals.
Basic Principles of Socialisation
- Introduce your puppy/dog to new things only when you can control the environment/situation
- Remember, its your job to protect your puppy / dog from ‘threats’ so if someone moves too close too soon, correct the human not the dog. Something as little as that could set back your progress and result in your dog showing fear-aggressive behaviour. Protect your pack so he won’t have to.
- Introduce them to other dogs slowly, not in a huge group first time round. Start off with just one other, then move on to a group of two, then three etc.
- Treats are your friend, use them to reinforce and praise good behaviour along side vocal praise, cuddles and even sometimes play.
- Reward the behaviours that you want repeated and ignore or give a signal to the behaviours you do not like. The signal could be “uh uh” or “no”. If the signal does not discourage the undesired behaviour, try a time out – a brief separation period from the fun interactive environment, not the naughty step.
- It is not fair to put any dog in a situation in which he might feel threatened or prompted to use his teeth. Therefore, you must educate not only your dog but the people in your home. For example, it is essential to teach family members never to bother dogs when eating, playing with a favourite toy, or resting. And no rough play!
- Be mindful of who else has contact with your dog ie; pet sitter, Parents etc as they may undermine your socialisation techniques and set you back.
All You Need is Love
As pack animals, your dog needs interaction with other dogs, people and species. The less interaction your dog has, the more likely it is to develop negative behaviour.
Companionship is vital. Integration into your family is a must if you’re going to establish strong bonds and trust and ensure your dog’s mental well- being.
Raise your dog in an environment that doesn’t allow him to be teased, tormented or attacked by other dogs. Tying a dog up to fencing in a location where other dogs can agitate him leads to dog aggression. People who want their dogs to live outside should not get dogs!
All these points are but a few that will help you to socialise your dog. There are so many more points we could raise but, in a nutshell, the best ways to socialise are to walk your dog regularly, book them into doggy day care where they can meet lots of new friends and slowly introduce new stimuli in a positive way. We are happy to help with this so do contact us if you would like to book in for our services: Click here to book
My Best Friend Dog Care Services
At My Best Friend we offer a range of dog care services including Dog Walking, Doggy Day Care, Home Boarding, Pet Sitting and Puppy Care. We work hard to provide a caring, convenient and professional service to your best friend and we take pride in treating your dog as if they were our own.