Just like humans, dogs have unique personalities of their own! Some are naturally outgoing and friendly, while others can be shy and timid. However, the personality and behavior of your dog can be influenced by their surroundings and experiences. Ensuring that your pup is properly socialized with both humans and dogs is important for fostering positive and healthy habits.
Puppies have a socialization period that can start as early as 3 weeks old. During this time, they soak up a lot of information about their environment. If they are not exposed to a variety of people, animals, social interactions and noises, they may be more likely to become anxious and potentially aggressive later in life.
Reward and Correct
When a dog is unsure of their surroundings and fearful about how an experience may go, they may become stressed, which could make them appear hostile and aggressive. Taking a poorly socialized pup to a dog park can be a stressful for both the pet parent and the dog and can lead to altercations with other dogs and humans. Meanwhile, taking a stressed-out dog to the vet can result in an elevated heart rate, which may lead to an inaccurate diagnosis. It is important to socialize your dog so they stay relaxed around new people and environments.
Some pet parents feel too guilty about correcting bad behavior to teach their dogs about rules, boundaries and limitations. It’s important to remember that dogs do not resent us for correcting them; instead they are happy to be learning and growing. This is why we have to make sure we only show our dog affection when they are in a calm and submissive state. We must reward the behavior we do want and correct the behavior we don’t.
It’s best to start socializing your dog when they’re young, either at puppy school or with other dogs in your neighborhood. A big part of learning ‘puppy etiquette’ is allowing them to be around other dogs so they can follow their lead. They’ll learn when a dog wants to interact with them and when they should respect others’ space. When a dog is playing with others, they’ll learn how their strength and bite can hurt, which will cause others to not want to play with them.
Exposing your dog to other dogs and humans helps to build their trust and confidence. Since we can’t verbally communicate the rules of socialization to our four-legged friends, learning how to communicate through energy and body language is extremely important. This is the language our pups speak.
Even after the puppy phase, your dog’s personality can change and become hostile towards other dogs and people. If this happens, try bringing treats with you on your walks and give them to your pup when others approach. Your furry friend will associate interacting with other dogs as a good experience because of the treats and will change their perception about meeting new people.
Dogs that haven’t had positive and successful interactions become fearful of their surroundings. This results in creating a stressful environment for your pup which causes them to react in a negative way. Teaching them how to properly interact with others through positive relationships on a regular basis is key to successfully socializing your furry friend.
A happy dog is one that has plenty of canine companionship. Don’t have time to give your dog their required amount of socialization? With Dogtopia’s doggie daycare, we ensure your pup gets proper socialization and ample play time. Playrooms are grouped by size, personality and play style to make sure your dog is happy, safe and comfortable. Contact a Dogtopia near you to learn more!