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Socializing your dog/puppy

Socializing your dog or puppy is one of the most important things you can do for you and your dog. So many new dog owner wonder when is the best time to start socializing their new dog or puppy. The answer is as soon as you get the OK from the vet. When you keep your dog in the house and don't take him anywhere, they can become timid, shy, skiddish, and sometimes more aggressive.

There are many different ways you can socialize your dog.

  1. Taking them for walks around your neighborhood. Just getting them outside and meeting different people and dogs as well as hearing different noises will help your dog be more accepting of the environment around them and enjoy being outside.

  2. Letting them meet the mailman or UPS/FedEx driver. When a person is in uniform, it can throw a dog off. The way that person looks confuses them and they become apprehensive. When you have a delivery come to the house, have the mailman or UPS driver give your dog a treat so that the dog understands that these people aren't scary.

  3. Taking your dog to the park. If you live in NE Ohio, you know we have an extensive park system. Utilize it and take your dog for hikes, walks, or runs to get them familiar with the environment, animals, people, and other dogs. If you feel comfortable, let them sniff/greet another dog, or have a stranger pet them. By doing this, it teaches them proper manners when greeting people and other dogs. The cool thing about dogs is if they don't feel comfortable, or get a bad vibe from someone or a dog, they will let you know. Don't brush it off and think that your dog is being silly. They could be telling you something. Also, if your dog is greeting another dog for the first time. Make sure that the leashes are loose and you are not feeling anxious. Dogs can sense that and it can cause a reaction when the other dog approaches.

  4. Taking your dog to the pet store or Lowes or Home Depot. Yes these two stores allow dogs now. Also, different restaurants around Cleveland are allowing dogs. All these places are great for your dog to experience new things. The pet store alone, is awesome because there are always other dogs, smells, and people in the store that your dog needs to get used to. It also teaches them self control so they learn not to go after every toy or food that is in the store.

  5. Taking your dog to a friends or families house it another way to socialize them. It teaches them to behave in other peoples' houses and experience new smells and sounds.

Socializing your dog doesn't happen in a week. It needs to be done on a regular basis over a long period of time. If you just socialize your puppy for the first couple of months then get to busy and forget, all that work you did before is out the window. For dogs to feel comfortable in different locations through out their lives, they need to be taken to these different locations regularly for some time.

Lets say you adopted a puppy in the spring time and took them everywhere with you. You went to the park, pet store and a friends house for cookouts. But come winter time it was cold and you felt it was better to leave your puppy at home so they are warm and comfortable. In retrospect, that sounds like a good idea, but because your dog was cooped up all winter, they are scared of the sound outside, the pet store was a disaster because they didn't know how to act in the store, and your dog growled at your friends dog because he was scared of him, but last summer they played like they were best friends. All of this can happen in one winter because socialization had stopped.

Socializing your dog is so important and it makes them a better part of society. You want to enjoy the life you have with your dog and taking them places with you is part of that enjoyment.

Canine Good Citizen test American Kennel Club is a great guide line to socializing your dog. The training techniques in the test are geared toward having your dog act appropriately in

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