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How to Socialize Your Dog

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Authored by Sunshine Wilson in Dogs
Published on 10-23-2009

Whether you have an eight week old puppy or an older rescue dog, you need to know how to socialize your dog. All dogs need socialization.

Lucky was a happy mixed breed dog living in a wonderful home with owners who loved him. He was well taken care of and his owners gave him lots of attention. He had free reign of the house. His owners had installed a doggie door, so Lucky was also able to spend time outside in a large fenced in area. The house was located at the end of a long street, with plenty of land around it and no neighbors on either side. And with few visitors to the house, Lucky rarely met anyone new. Lucky, who disliked car rides, only left the house for his yearly checkups at the vet’s office.

All seemed fine for Lucky and his owners. Then life changed. One of Lucky’s owners was transferred to a new office, and the family moved to an apartment building in a large metropolitan area. Lucky was suddenly terrified of everything. The formerly happy pet changed into a fearful aggressive dog. He barked at everyone he met and would not let anyone pet him. He growled at other dogs and snapped at them if they got close. When left home alone, he barked all day long and chewed up the furniture.

“We did not realize that Lucky was not socialized but we now know the importance of learning how to socialize your dog”, Lucky’s owners later stated.

Lucky’s situation is an excellent example of why you need to learn how to socialize your dog. Your dog should experience people, animals and all sorts of environments so that he is prepared for anything that may happen to him in the future. Here are some ways to socialize your dog.

When you bring your dog home for the first time, allow him to get familiar with his new surroundings. Invite your family and friends over to meet him. Walk your dog walk around your neighborhood and introduce him to your neighbors, their children and their friendly dogs. Don’t forget to praise him.

Take your dog on rides in the car. Take him to the vet’s office, not only for his checkups but on other occasions as well, so that he becomes at ease in that setting. Take him to the homes of your family and friends and those that have friendly dogs for him to meet and play with. Make sure that he meets children and praise him when he plays properly with them.

Here are some additional ways to continue to socialize your dog. Take your dog to the beach or lake to expose him to water. If possible, take him on an elevator ride or through a revolving door. Open an umbrella next to him. Open and close the garage door with your dog nearby. Teach him to walk across a wooden board placed on the ground.

Follow this advice to socialize your dog and you will have a happy well socialized dog for years to come.

You will be happy to learn that Lucky’s owners have recently begun to socialize him. With the help of a professional dog trainer, Lucky is making great progress.

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