A properly socialized dog can adapt well to any given situation – can get along well with all the pets of the family and all the members of the household. By socializing the pet an owner is assured to have an ideal and well behaved companion for life. A well socialized dog is a happy and well behaved member of the family as socialization prevents the development of unwanted behaviors. A first time dog owner may have heard about the necessity to socialize the pet, of the benefits of socialization but how is a dog socialized.
In spite of the fact that dogs are acclaimed to be social creatures, some individuals would not interact well with people and with other animals as dogs too have different personalities. Expect a nervous or shy dog to react with fear or aggression when exposed to new faces or situations. A dominant one would try to control not only other animals but humans as well. A dog owner’s responsibility to the pet is more than providing the dog with its basic needs. A dog owner has to socialize the dog so that it will grow into a well behaved dog that can interact with all types of people and animals in any kind of situation and all kinds of environment.
Socialization must take place when the puppy is between 8 to 16 weeks old. This is not to say that older dogs can no longer be socialized. Making an older dog less sensitive to fear would take more effort. Socializing puppies would be easier as apart from having a curious nature; puppies have not yet formed hard to break habits.
Introduce the puppy to everything that it will be exposed to as soon as the OK of the vet is received. Grooming is the first part of socialization that will familiarize the dog to being touched. By grooming the dog it will get used to being handled so that it will not be aggressive if petted by unfamiliar people.
An obedience school or frequent visit to the local dog park will be a good chance for the pet to interact with other dogs. The dog must be introduced to as many people and exposed to as many situations as possible. Whenever there’s a chance take the dog along. Use treats to encourage the dog not to shy away from unfamiliar faces, places and situations. The socialization efforts will be all worth it as the dog will grow into a well adjusted and well mannered pet.