7 Tips For Socializing Your Pet
Congratulations on your new pet!
You’ve done all the research on toys and food and housebreaking, you’ve found your vet, and now you want to show off the newest member of your family in public.
Socializing a young pup is the best way to raise a friendly, confident dog that behaves well with different people and places.
Here are some tips on how to properly socialize your pet.
Window of Opportunity
While dogs of all ages are learning all the time, there is a proven learning “sweet spot” for dogs that falls between the ages of 8 and 16 weeks. Commit to frequent opportunities for socialization during this time for best results.
If you adopted an older dog that missed out on early socialization, don’t fret! You can teach an old dog new tricks. It may just take a little more time and patience. Start small, and slowly increase exposure, paying close attention to your pet’s limits.
Go Out in Public
Getting out and about around other humans and pets is key.
Take a daily walk around your neighborhood or go to your local farmers market where dogs and humans are plentiful. Only expose your dog to others if the owner is comfortable and has control over their pet.
It is best to avoid dog parks, at least during the training period. Dog parks tend to attract undersocialized pets, and animals learn by observation. Most vets will recommend that you steer clear anyway until your pet is up to date on booster vaccines.
Add Some Variety
Exposing your pet to different people, clothing, animals, and locations helps them to feel comfortable and calm in all situations, which results in ideal behaviors in public and at home.
You should also add variety to types of touch. Handle your pet’s paws and ears regularly to get them used to it. This not only makes grooming and vet visits easier, but allows your pet to stay calm even with curious children around.
Pet boarding or doggy daycare is a great way to get your pet around others of the same species and similar size. While introducing a large dog to a tiny one may seem cute, you never know how well-socialized the other pet is. Best to stick to someone their own size.
Obedience classes not only enforce good behavior, but they also get your pet around others. This is not only good for socializing, but great for enforcing obedience, even with the presence of distractions.
Know Your Pet’s Limits
Pay attention to your pet’s cues.
If they seem uneasy, upset, or scared, back off and try again later. While your pup may love attention, they can be easily overwhelmed. Pushing your pet too far can result in lash out that could injure another person or animal.
Shorter, more frequent socialization opportunities rather than long, drawn out ones will help you to avoid sensory overload.
When your pet has had a successful social interaction, offer lots of praise and attention as positive reinforcement. He or she will eventually pick up on the desired behavior and be more consistent.
Let Your Pet Play While You Are Away at Old Farm Vet!
You want to be sure that your pet is well cared for while you are away. Why not leave them with some familiar faces?
The highly-trained staff at Old Farm Veterinary Hospital offers compassionate care for your pet while you are at work or on vacation. Your dog will enjoy daily exercise in our large fenced-in backyard, healthy meals (our food or yours), and lots of attention from staff. For cats or small animals, we offer a separate quiet room with the same level of care.