Hello fur-iends! My name is Beau, and I am a Michigan pup! This is my first Michigan Winter (for those of you who are unfamiliar, it gets REALLY cold here! It was so cold for a solid week that I could barely even go outside to go potty without my paws freezing!), so you’d think I’d need a massive coat to stay cozy, right?
When getting a puppy, an essential factor to consider is socializing them at a young age. Dog socialization is a key aspect when it comes to the behavior and personality of your dog.
Lack of socialization means that dogs aren’t actively familiarized with new situations that may be anxiety inducing. This may not be a problem in everyday life, although you’ll notice the difference when it comes to events such as vet appointments or dog park visits.
These situations can be stressful for a dog, and even more so for a dog that’s not properly socialized. Socializing your dog not only makes your dog’s life better, but your life and the people around you, too.
So how can you properly socialize your dog? It’s easy!
Starting from a young age, if we make socialization a habit it can be an easy, unconscious decision we make on a weekly basis. Here’s how:
A regular walk can go a long way. Whether we know it or not, when we walk our dog they get exposure to many new situations. From other dogs, people, to squirrels, a walk is a great way to show your dog how to properly act when introduced.
Walks are also a great opportunity to train your dog. Sit and stay commands flow easily throughout their walk, especially when they see something exciting. Bring along treats and positively reinforce your dog’s behavior, and you’ll be on your way.
If you don’t have time for walking every day, consider a dog walker a few times a week. This will be a great opportunity to introduce your dog to someone new and reduce the risk of separation anxiety,
Visit the Dog Park
The dog park is one of the best ways to socialize your dog. They get the opportunity to play with other dogs, exercise, and even see the behaviors of other dogs.
Take your time to introduce your dog into the park. It can be overwhelming, especially if there are a lot of dogs. Treats and toys are always a good idea, and even observing from a distance at first.
Playing one on one can be very helpful for your dog. Although they aren’t being exposed to new people or dogs, showing them how to act when playing is always a positive experience. Roughhousing and exercise help get rid of unwanted energy, and if your dog is overly aggressive, you can show them what’s not okay.
This type of playing and training will help prevent aggressive behavior in the future.
Doggie daycare has many benefits, on top of socializing. Many times, dogs don’t get socialized because of lack of time. Doggie daycare allows your dog to get out, exposed to other dogs and other people, and also helps them get comfortable being without you.
Daycare offers your dog exercise, and in some cases, grooming. If it’s in your budget, doggie daycare is always a good idea.
Owning a dog is a big responsibility and socializing is a part of that responsibility. It’s our duty to make sure their health and wellness needs are met, and we help give them a great life.
Written by guest blogger, Matt Barnett
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