Dog socialization is an important aspect of being a pet owner; socialization will help to make everyday situations safe and enjoyable.  You don’t want your dog to live his life in fear.. or make other dogs afraid of him. 

Think about everything your dog will be exposed to during its life: different people, animals, places, situations, cars, noises, and smells.  If you don’t help make them accustomed to these items at an early age, they will become nervous and scared when confronted with something new.

After your dog becomes socialized, he will have a better quality of life because he won’t be nervous, aggressive, overly excited, etc…when faced with something he isn’t used to.  Your dog and other dogs will also be safer as there won’t be the great potential for aggression.

The key to dog socialization is to start when they’re young and introduce them to as many different things as you can.  Here are some tips:

•    Start at a young age.
  The ideal time for this type of training is between 3 and 12 weeks of age.  It typically becomes difficult to train after 18 weeks, but it’s still do-able.  If you adopt an adult animal, you’ve missed to opportunity to socialize at a young age, but that’s okay because most dogs can get used to people/places/animals, etc if done properly.

•    Look to the future. 
Think ahead when it comes to your dog’s life—who and what will he be around?  This could include children, adults, men, women, crying babies, people of different nationalities, crowds, people wearing hats…or whatever else you know he will be exposed to. The wider the variety of situations you expose your dog to, the better.

•    Include various environments.  This is also part of thinking ahead.  You must think about environments you know your pet will be exposed to repeatedly as he gets older.  This could include having him walk on different surfaces (grass, concrete), through different buildings, on busy streets, quiet streets, areas with other animals, and near cars, trucks, and even trains! 

Work on dog socialization every day and reward your pet when they do something you want them to do, and be gentle! Go on lots of walks where you will be confronted with people and other dogs or go to the dog park. If training is too much for you to do on your own, consider hiring a dog trainer.  Dog socialization will prove to be beneficial in the long run—it will be easier for you to take them to the veterinarian, groomer, out on walks and it will also prevent them from developing unsafe behavioral problems. If you find that your dog does exhibit aggressive behaviors, definitely talk to trainer or a behaviorist to get some tips on how to socialize him safely and properly.

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