Dog Training: Socializing Your Dog

Dog not socialized well?  With patience and a little common sense, it’s never too late to have a very friendly, well-socialized dog. In fact, it will make you the envy of all dog owners who wish their bratty dog was well socialized and friendly. It is great to have the confidence in a well mannered pooch – one that politely greets your house guests and you for that matter and all without jumping or barking. This perfect, well-socialized pooch would also get along with all kids and adults as well as other dogs.

While the window of socialization closes for most puppies by the age of five months, many puppies – and dogs slip through the crack without this experience. Not to worry, all is not necessarily lost. It is still very possible to begin again with an older pooch – it may just take time and patience. Oh yeah, and food treats!

If your dog was not socialized by 5 months of age, start now. Today is the first day of the rest of your dog’s life! Remember the first time your puppy or dog came home and you called him into the kitchen as you unscrewed the lid on the “doggie cookie jar?” The sound had no meaning until your dog connected it to the cookie in the jar. Now every time he hears that lid unscrew, it’s a good thing! Cookies! What if your dog made that same great connection with people he didn’t know? Every time he met someone new he got a bunch of high value cookies? That would be way too cool!

You may be able to pin point some types of people that are more scary to your pup. For example, dogs that are fearful of people are generally most fearful of adult men, then little boys, then little girls and the least afraid of adult women. This is generally speaking. It would be best to list all the people types that seem to affect your dog the worst. That is the starting point. Each new person your puppy or dog meets, he gets a cookie. Just toss it on the floor. It works best if the new person tosses it to the floor at first. Then move into hand feeding next as you see your dog getting more comfortable.

If you have not taught your dog commands, work on sits, and downs so that you can eventually give your dog sits and downs to focus on rather than feeling anxious about the new person. Always work your puppy on leash to control the training environment. Each new person widens his circle of friends. Take your time with your dog and move at his speed.

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Jim Burwell