Some dog experts say that a socializing your dog is just as important as how you feed and shelter him or her. But what does “dog socialization” and being a “well socialized” dog mean, anyways?
Dog socializing is a form of training your dog. When you socialize your dog you teach him or her how to react to external stimuli, from new places, large groups, or an unusual characteristic such as wheelchairs or mustaches on men. While socialization is extremely important during the first year of a puppy’s life, it in no way ends at 12 months of age, and good socialization tactics continue throughout your dog’s lifetime.
While socialization classes can be found, the best kind of socialization training is found in daily life. As you walk your dog, take him or her to the dog park, meet strange people or dogs while on a walk, or host a party, you are providing your dog with the best kind of socialization. But, for socialization to be good and your dog to become “well socialized” you must be in control of the situation, endeavoring to make sure that he or she enjoys the new experience and gets past any initial fearful reactions he or she has, and making sure that your own reactions to the situation show that your are in control, worry free, enjoying yourself, and you feel your pet is safe.
Poorly socialized dogs often react to stimuli by growling, cowering, trying to bite, or other fear-induced behaviors. Not only are these signs that your dog is frightened, but they can be difficult or embarrassing to deal with, or even cause harm. No matter what age your dog is intentional socialization should be as much a part of his or her daily routine as meals and taking walks.