There are a lot of reasons why your dog may need some extra practice in socialization. Maybe they are naturally an anxious pup, or perhaps past experience has made them uncomfortable around people and dogs they don’t know. No matter the reason, there are a few ways that you can help your furry friend improve their social skills, even if it’s your first time owning a dog.
Not only is taking your dog for a daily walk good for their health, but it is also a great way to start the process of getting them more socially comfortable. You can start by taking your dog for walks in less crowded places. This will allow them to get used to having other dogs and people within their eyesight without forcing them to have direct contact. Over time, your dog can slowly work up to being comfortable with larger groups of people around them. Eventually, they will be able to walk directly by other dogs and people without reacting negatively. This kind of slow exposure to socialization can ensure that your dog doesn’t get overwhelmed.
Go to the Dog Park
Another great way to socialize your dog is to take them to the dog park. This is a great second step to take after you get them comfortable going on walks. You can allow your dog to safely play off-leash with other dogs and dog owners while still keeping an eye on them and their behavior. It should always be a priority to keep your dog safe at the dog park so that nothing happens to your furry friend. Make sure to intervene if anything gets out of hand. Your dog may be shy and slightly overwhelmed initially, so they may prefer to stay near you. The freedom of being off-leash near other dogs may not be very appealing to them at first, but being at the dog park will give them the experience of approaching and being approached by other dogs and people. Over time, this can be a huge boost to your dog’s social skills.
Depending on how your dog reacts to the above solutions, you might find it better to set up a doggie play date with a friend of yours who also has a dog. Your dog will get the chance to interact with just one dog at a time instead of multiple. You also have control over the environment and can choose a location that you know your dog will be comfortable in.
It is just a matter of picking what path is going to be the best one for your furry friend. Remember always to keep your dog’s safety in mind when getting them socialized, and have fun with all of the new friends your pup and you are going to make together!