Socialization is the key to a happy and healthy dog. It helps build a bond between you and your dog that allows you both to build confidence and trust in one another. Breed, age, and personality will all be a factor in determining how your dog will cope when introduced into new situations. In general, your dog’s behavior is built upon the classic “fight or flight” syndrome. With proper socialization, your dog builds a high tolerance to situations such as very noisy or highly distracted environments. Without it, you may end up with a timid, or even worse, an aggressive dog on your hands.
What dog socialization teaches you.
The process of socialization will help you to recognize your dog’s body language in order to better understand what your dog is trying to communicate. Ultimately, the process of socializing your dog yields a much happier owner as well! If not socialized, your dog could become fearful of certain things or people and may even snap or bite (“fight” mode). This isn’t necessarily because your dog is a ferocious beast, but more likely because he or she hasn’t been exposed to certain situations and may feel cornered or threatened. Another possible outcome of not being socialized properly is a timid dog (“flight” mode). Again, this is because your pet is not used to the variety of settings and noises it is around. A timid dog may hide, cower, rolls onto his back, or even begin trembling.
Can’t I just go to the dog park to socialize my dog?
Bringing your 5 year old dog that has never been socialized before directly to a dog park and letting him off leash is certainly not the most advisable thing to do. Why? Because the safest way to introduce your dog to socialization is on a leash. This is when you have the most control over your dog. While on a leash you can determine what is and isn’t appropriate and will therefore have the greatest opportunity to avoid problems or injury to you, your dog, or to others around you.
What are the advantages of socializing my dog?
There are a great many ADVANTAGES to properly socializing your dog. By setting up controlled situations for your dog’s success, you allow your dog to become more easily adaptable to unknown situations such as meeting other people or dogs, introducing “Rover” to a new family member, or bringing a new pet into the house. To obtain the best results, always introduce your dog to socialization slowly so you do not overwhelm him with too many new stimuli or distractions at once. Both good AND bad experiences are remembered by your dog. Through socialization you can show your dog that a bad experience in the past can be a good, more pleasant experience in the future and will build his or her confidence. This allows your dog to become more adaptable to unfamiliar situations in the future.
If you want a confident and happy dog, socialization is a must!
Remember, socialization is a key factor in raising a happy, healthy, and secure dog. With regular socialization, your dog will become more comfortable and confident in strange situations and will provide you with a great dog owning experience. For more information about dog socialization or to inquire about the FREE dog socialization class held every Sunday by Florida Dog Training School of Tampa call 813-951-4480.
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