While it is generally agreed that dog socialization should occur when the dog is still a puppy, adult dogs can be successfully socialized too. Here are a few effective tips for getting your dog comfortable around new people and pets.
If your dog is fully grown and yet skittish around new people and other pets, you don’t have to spend the rest of your lives avoiding bringing people around your dog, or apologizing for their uncontrollable behavior. It is possible to socialize them – you just need to adopt a slightly different approach than you would if you were training a puppy. Here are a few things to keep in mind.
- Train your dog to obey vocal commands before you begin socialization. It is important that the dog recognizes you as the pack leader prior to introducing them to other dogs or people. If they start to get too excited or aggressive while in the presence of another dog, their previous training will instantly kick in when you correct them.
- Take them for lots of walks. Not only will walking help to socialize your dog, the exercise will help them to remain calm when encountering other dogs and people.
- Have them wear a muzzle. Muzzles help keep dogs safe by inhibiting attacks, but they also allow them to get used to being around other dogs and observing behavior.
- Have your dog associate meeting other dogs with positive things. If you give your dog their favorite treats, or start to play with them whenever another dog is close by, eventually they’ll come to associate being around other dogs with good things.
- Enlist the guidance of a veterinary behaviorist. Dogs who suffer from significant anxiety and agitation when in the presence of other dogs or people should be guided by professional behaviorists. This is particularly true if the dog has been abused in the past. A behaviorist will offer a safe environment for your dog to learn to behave around other dogs, and will enlist the help of a calm, trained dog to act as a decoy.
Before meeting other dogs, make sure your dog has had their meal – sated dogs are calmer dogs. If you’re looking for recommendations, some of my dogs’ favorite brands of food are Purina Beneful, Nutrish, and Zignature. DCM and obesity-related conditions can affect your dog’s mood, making them more difficult to train and socialize.
Dogs are pack animals, and they thrive on being in groups. With a bit of time, affection, and dedication, you’ll eventually teach your dog to be comfortable in social situations, and maybe even enjoy them!
I’m a proud pet parent of two rambunctious shelter dogs. My hobbies include blogging and taking adorable Instagram pics of my mutts. Their hobbies mainly involve the consumption of liver treats.
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