Pet Health

Pet Socialization

Staff Writer, 2012-01-25

Pet socialization an important tool in building good relationships with other dogs, pets, and people, and is essential in maintaining a healthy, happy, and balanced mental outlook for the family pet.

Reduce Stress

Proper socialization is important for dogs of all ages, not just puppies. It exposes them to new environments and situations and allows them to develop skills to cope with new experiences in a positive manner, thereby reducing stress. This can be especially beneficial for dogs that become easily excited or agitated.

Try a local dog park, make an effort to take the family pet at least once a week and let him interact with other dogs. When socializing, maintain the pet on a shorter lease. Avoid using long retractable leashes due to tangling and loss of control. A short lease allows for a more hands on approach should things escalate and it become necessary to intervene.

Be alert and ready to step in to prevent any negative interaction, as other owners may be in the beginning process of socialization their own pet as well. Always discourage any behavior that might be deemed aggressive such as growling or lunging.

Places to Socialize Dogs

Other venues that allow an owner to socialize their dog include some pet shops and other specialty businesses that encourage owners to bring in pets while shopping. There are even events geared specifically for pets such as agility trials, doggy costume contests, pet parades, charity events, and more.

Check out the local dog park, and if there aren’t any, consider scheduling doggy play dates with friends or neighbors who also own dogs. Take frequent walks around the neighborhood with the family dog or at local park and allow him to interact with people and other pets as they encounter them. The more exposure he has, the better his coping skills will become, and the more peace of mind the owner can expect to have.

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