8 Tips And Tricks - Puppy And Dog Socialization

8 Tips And Tricks - Puppy And Dog Socialization

Author WDF Staff


Dog or puppy socialization can be defined as teaching your pet to become a good member of society. Our beloved dogs can get scared and react badly to different things in their environment - things like people, other dogs, situations, crowds, and even buildings and unknown objects. Dogs can have bad reactions to things they see, smell, or hear. That means that your dog should learn how to react to certain things, and your role is to help them adapt.

Socialization should play a pivotal role in your dog’s life. Most of us are looking for a dog that will be well-adapted and well-behaved, and that means socialization should be on top of our priority list. This process is crucial for dominant dog breeds like the Akita, Cane Corso, or Pit Bulls. These breeds can have a strong and dominant nature that can escalate and create many problems if they haven’t been properly socialized.

Many dog owners are not entirely familiar with the term socialization and are not quite sure what it means to socialize their dog. It is a smart thing that you decided to research proper socialization techniques, and that is why we prepared this list of tips and tricks that will help you successfully socialize your dog.

How to socialize your dog?

The process of socialization should start as soon as your dog arrives at your home. It is not important whether you are getting a puppy, mature, or a senior dog - socialization is a must if you want to avoid behavioral problems.

If you are getting a puppy, ideally, you should start socializing him as soon as he comes to your household. Hopefully, if you are getting a mature dog, he was already socialized, and the same goes for a senior dog. If they haven’t been socialized, these few simple steps will help them adjust in no time.

BONUS TIP: All across the US, dog trainers offer puppy socialization classes. If you are unsure about your skill or have doubts about the level of success you will achieve, feel free to contact them and ask for details. They will usually be delighted to help, and they are most likely to get great results.

happy dog in woods

Socialization Tips and Tricks

1. Start early

The first thing you need to know about socializing your dog is that you should start early. Puppies between 4 and 12 weeks are most open to new things, and that is when they are at their best for learning and experiencing new social skills.

leonberger puppy with toy

2. Get physical

Your new socialization process should include getting your puppy familiar with being touched and handled. If you complete this part, you will make your life, your vets life, groomers, dog walkers, and neighbors’ lives easier. Get your puppy used to grooming, touch their paws, their gums, teeth, nails, start getting them used to teeth brushing. Make sure you end each of these tasks with praise and a treat. If your puppy learns you will handle them gently, it will be a lot easier to handle them later in life.

3. New things and sensations

This process is not only about other dogs and humans; you should expose your puppy to many different, NEW things. The most important thing is to make it a positive experience and make your puppy feel safe with you on their side at all times. Some of these new things include; unfamiliar people, dogs, cats, sounds (cars, busses, city noises, animals, alarms, etc.), unknown owner dressing (jackets, hats, glasses), different surfaces (grass, concrete, dirt, hardwood, etc.).

4. Meet new animal friends

Owning a dog means getting out of the house - a lot. That is where you will most likely encounter other dogs and cats. After your new dog had all its shots, you can start introducing them to other dogs. Talk to people you know that have playful and friendly dogs and arrange a playdate. Ask a cat owner for an introduction with cats and make sure it goes as best as it can. This way, your puppy will learn not to be scared, shy, or protective around other animals.

bulldogs playing

5. Daily routines

Dogs love having daily routines. They thrive on consistency, and there is no better way for teaching your puppy the world is not a scary place than walking around your neighborhood regularly. Your puppy will encounter many different sights, sounds, smells, neighbors, dogs, and cats. If you followed the first four steps, these encounters should be a delight! Pretty soon, you will have a socialized dog that is as friendly as it can be!

6. Break the routine

Breaking the routine can seem like a complete opposite from step five, but mixing something different in your daily routine can have a positive socializing impact on your dog. That doesn’t mean you should skip walking your dog; it just means you should change the scenery a bit. Take your dog for a walk in the woods, or a park, whatever is the closest. Even a change in your usual route is good.

dogs by the river

7. Don’t be pushy

Socialization is a process, and processes can take some time. Your puppy or dog can act shy or unfriendly at first but don’t get discouraged! Sometimes, your puppy will need some time to adjust to new things, which is entirely OK. At times like that, don’t force them into doing something they are scared of or feel uncomfortable with. Be close to them, remain confident, involve treats, and help them feel secure.

pug and child

8. Be careful

The socialization process is a delicate thing, and you don’t want to mess it up and leave your puppy scarred for life: exercise caution and common sense. If you have a small dog, maybe don’t socialize them with a huge English Mastiff at first. Taking your dog to a rock concert to get them used to loud noises is also not the best idea. Take everything in moderation and keep your furry friend safe at all times.

World Dog Finder team