Above all, socializing your dog could possibly be the absolutely most important thing you ever train! Raising a dog who’s comfortable around other animals, people, and children- especially children- is of paramount importance.
I hear about it all the time- isolated dogs who’s owners have never let step off their property, dogs who’ve never encountered others of their species in play, dogs kept in kennels for much of their lives, never allowed to roam…
Why to Socialize Your Dog
Sure, you may not see a problem- after all, your dog may be kept on your property at all times, never causing problems. But consider this- a child walks by, or a relative brings over their young toddler. Children absolutely love dogs! They will want to play, but your dog, having never encountered a child, never having to put up with the pokings and ploddings children offer- this dog may not know how to handle the situation.
A few things could result. One: Your pet may very well take to the extra attention fantastically. Two: your pet will convey, via visual and vocal cues, it want’s to be left alone. The problem is- very few children heed these warnings, or know how to read them in the first place. Three: Your dog reacts the only way it knows how, which is completely natural; after these requests to be left alone have been ignored, it responds defensively.
Those stories you’ve heard of dogs biting children, or attacking other dogs for what seems like no reason? This is usually the reason; they were not properly socialized. Keep in mind, unless provoking the animal, this isn’t the fault of the child (or whichever antagonist), and it isn’t the fault of the dog; they are reacting naturally. But not properly socializing your dog can have dire consequences to both.
Socializing your Dog Is Easy!
Socializing your dog is easy, as long as it is done at a young age. Begin socializing when your dog is a puppy! Ask strangers and children to hand your dog a treat. Make sure you introduce your dog to every possible animal at a young age; be sure his experience with cats and other dogs is a pleasant one.
Show your dog other creatures and children are things to be enjoyed!