Pet Health

Healthy Paws Pet Insurance and Foundation.
Healthy Paws Pet Insurance and Foundation.

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Socialization is a life-long desensitization process of exposing your puppy to every new sound, sight, and situation possible. You want eliminate any adverse reaction and have your dog view these occurrences as normal, and non-threatening, and non-exciting.

The ultimate goal of socialization is to be able to take your dog any place, any situation, and have him stay calm, relaxed and confident. Over-excitement, anxiety, hyperactivity are all unwanted reactions in a properly socialized dog. 

How to Socialize Your Dog:

The very first step, regardless of whether your dog is a puppy or an adult dog you've acquired, is enrolling in obedience classes or acquire a personal trainer that focus on positive training methods. This will benefit dogs at any age, and are an important step in socialization and developing a bond between dog and you.

The Next Step:

Arm yourself with treats, and off you go. Take your dog out to walk the streets, let him experience cars driving by (safely on leash, of course), people walking past, and the noises of everyday life. Praise and reward any wanted reaction (such as sniffing, walking calmly, sitting politely) and ignore all undesirable reactions (jumping, leash pulling, barking, showing fear), while redirecting attention to yourself, and have him focus on something different.

It is very important to remember to praise and reward as soon as the unwanted behavior stops, but also be very careful to not accidentally reward the unwanted as well.

Take your dog with you everywhere. The ultimate goal of socialization is to have a dog you can take into any awkward, noisy, or crowded area, and he will still behave, and be calm, and relaxed. By continuing this throughout his life, your dog will gain confidence, and keep a steady head wherever he is.