Today we are talking about the best way to socialize your dog. Socialization is an important aspect of dog training, a kind of adaptation to the human world and the possibility of intelligent interaction with others. This means that an animal that has entered a human house will have to learn communication skills and the ability to live according to certain rules.
What Is Dog Socialization?
The socialization of a puppy is the training in an animal an adequate attitude to contacts with people around, other animals and inanimate objects. And you need to start this process right away, taking a little four-legged friend into your home. A dog is born with the innate inclinations of mental abilities, but the owner’s task is to give it the opportunity to develop its intelligence by absorbing new information.
If an animal has a stable nervous system, it quickly adapts to new conditions, and no radical intervention from the host is needed for its adaptation. Another thing is the peculiarities of the character and temperament of various breeds, which make them react inadequately to the same events and objects, up to aggression and panic fear. This complicates training of such a pet, makes it naughty and unpredictable.
The younger the puppy, the faster it can be taught to human life, the ability to understand its place in the family and among relatives, calmly relate to extraneous things and situations. And for a man, it will become a self-possessed, confident and obedient dog.
What is it for?
Dogs that have not gone through the socialization process have many problems, each of which is also a problem for the owner.
When an animal cannot be balanced with respect to new, unknown objects, it experiences continuous stress, which negatively affects its psyche and nervous system. This is what causes cowardice when the animal breaks off the leash and runs away, forgetting about the existence of the owner.
Another inflection is irritability, anxiety, and aggressive behavior. Unfortunately, this is a natural reaction of dogs to strange things and events. Such dogs are dangerous to others, but also often become the culprit of injuries to the owner and family members.
Socialized animals, in contrast to such pets, have undeniable advantages:
- they do not bark at passers-by, street and domestic animals;
- are not afraid of loud noise;
- calm at the sight of people approaching them in the city;
- obedient both at home and on the street;
- balanced in the event of force majeure, and can even help others;
- they can be left at home without fear that the animal will bark or howl.
Correctly raised dogs know the rules of living with humans and other creatures, in addition, they have a strong nervous system that excludes any uncivilized, aggressive actions. It must be admitted that the mental abilities of these pets are much higher than that of their half-wild, albeit living with humans, brethren who have not been raised properly.
Stages of Socialization
You can start upbringing immediately after the puppies are taken from the mother, preferably no later than 5 months, when the formation of the animal’s psyche ends, including the active influence of the environment. Various, well-modeled situations stimulate the improvement of the dog’s nervous system, associative thinking and memory through a combination of sounds, smells and visual images.
And it is considered prepared for the main points of education. The first stage of socialization involves the establishment of a well-built relationship between the dog and the owner, and for this you need to communicate with the animal constantly, and at first – for a long time. At this stage, it is important that the following conditions are met:
- so that the puppy is not distracted by anything, you need to try to exclude the influence of foreign objects and external stimuli;
- for a dog, only the owner should exist with his unshakable will and character, the only strong leader;
- the main points of upbringing occur during feeding and games, direct communication;
- walks with the animal are best done in deserted, quiet places where the puppy feels relaxed;
- the main beacons for successful training are toys and treats;
- all emotions of the puppy during contact should be positive, except for rewards, it is necessary to pronounce the name of the animal, to lead an affectionate misfortune, to encourage with stroking.
The positive result of such activities can be indicated by the behavior of the pet at the sight of the owner – its joy, the desire to be near, ignoring everything that surrounds it. This stage, with the correct building of contact, can last no more than 10 days, after which you can proceed to further training.
At the second stage, there is a complication of the tasks assigned to the animal. At the same time, the emphasis is still placed on the main role of the educator, but at the same time the dog is taught to respond correctly to household objects, including urban objects:
- be calm about vehicles, noise, a large crowd of people, places where other animals are staying, and a visit to a veterinarian;
- at the first signs of anxiety, the puppy must be distracted – by playing, stroking, treating;
- if the owner noticed that the pet is scared, it is advisable to switch the dog’s attention to something safe and leave the “fear zone”;
- but sometimes the curiosity of a shaggy friend outweighs the feeling of fear, and then it is allowed to carefully introduce the dog to the thing of interest by approaching it.
You can lead the dog away and let it approach again several times until the phobia dissipates.
This stage of training should not take more than a month, which may mean problems with the psyche of the dog. As a result, the animal should be calm about everything that comes its way, including people and animals, and the trainer should remain the center of its attention.
The main goal of training at the third stage is to teach the dog to behave appropriately if exceptional, non-standard situations arise. For puppies of service breeds, at the same time, classes are held in a special training course to develop skills while performing a certain type of service.
It is important for the owner to take into account the individual characteristics of the animal’s behavior and, based on this, imitate extraordinary events. The animal must be trained to be indifferent to any stimuli, but quickly respond to any commands from the owner.
This stage is the most difficult and requires up to three months of constant training, however, some pets can go through the stage even faster – it all depends on their nature and the natural characteristics of the breed.
Best Way To Socialize Your Dog
You need to start training a puppy by drawing up a lesson plan, but first you need to make an assessment of the condition of the pet.
In this sense, the following indicators are important:
- how the animal reacts to toys, food, sound stimuli;
- how quickly the dog can adapt to normal daily events;
- what is the reaction to unfamiliar, living and inanimate objects;
- perhaps there are some features of behavior, dignity and weakness of a personal nature.
This approach is relevant both for a puppy and an adult dog. The owner from his own observations can already get an idea of how the pet treats people, children, pets and street animals.
Thus, in the future, it will be easier to find stimuli that can become motivational to stimulate the desired type of behavior.
It is difficult when the dog is indifferent to food or toys, but in this case there is a way out – you just need to increase the value of these resources, and therefore motivation.
The period of adaptation of young puppies to external stimuli can be divided into three periods:
- at 3-8 weeks, initial intraspecific socialization occurs when the cub gets to know other dogs;
- from 6 to 12 weeks, the pet should be taught to contact people and other types of animals;
- from 6 to 16 months, the adaptation process should expand to the conditions of the street and associated facilities.
At 4-5 months, the puppy should already distinguish many smells, not be afraid of various noises, ignore any provoking events, focusing on one object – its owner.
In order for all stages of socialization to be completed successfully, and the animal does not become shy and insecure, the dog must be regularly brought out into the light, and not limited to short walks.
Some owners provide their pets with the courtyard of a country house, believing that the animal, running freely around the territory, should feel comfortable. But such dogs, getting on the street, no longer feel free ease, they are scared, which logically leads to such a reaction as aggression.
To teach an adult dog to behave calmly presents a certain difficulty, and for this special socialization classes have been created, where animals under the supervision of a trainer are allowed to behave in a natural way.
The muzzle and leash are used only at the beginning to assess the condition of the animal. As a rule, at the end of the course, their use is no longer necessary, since the animal finds a common language with its relatives of different ages and breeds, as well as with the owner, which is perhaps the main thing.