Dog socialization is the process of exposing your dog to new places, people, situations, experiences, and things, that help them understand more about the external world. By familiarising them, you are helping them develop positive behaviors and also give them the confidence to deal with anything that comes their way.
The best time to begin socializing your pup is at three to four months of age. This is when they start coming out of their mothers’ shadows and start exploring the world. If you miss socializing at this stage, it can be very hard to do so at a later age and especially with adult dogs.
To all the dog parents who are not aware of the benefits that socialization brings, this blog will highlight it for you.
1. Reduce fear and anxiety
Dogs that are not socialized exhibit fear and anxiety when they are exposed to new people, situations, or environments. While puppies are always curious and excited to explore the world, adult dogs that are not socialized will be overwhelmed by new things. You might even find your dog shying away from a harmless cat or bird! Some dogs might also resort to ceaseless barking at strange people and places and that’s really hard to deal with. Socialization will help your dog overcome these emotions and build confidence and self-esteem that enables him to embrace new situations.
2. Maintains positive mental health
Just like humans, dogs too need a certain amount of active engagement to lead a mentally healthy life. Apart from the family, the dog needs exposure to other people or pets and this will keep him mentally stimulated. Socialization helps get rid of mental issues like depression. By exploring new places and spending time with other people, the psychological needs of the dog are fulfilled and it keeps his overall life enriched.
3. Better response to vet visits
How many times have you thrown a tantrum before your regular visit to the dentist?! Uncountable, right? Well, your dog is no different and he doesn’t like visiting the vet too! The struggle begins from the second you try to get him into the car, then get into the clinic and finally cooperate with the vet. Even the vet might find it difficult to analyze and treat dogs that refuse to obey and constantly thrash around. It is a very taxing task and this is why most dog parents skip regular vet check-ups and only schedule one when the dog exhibits negative health conditions. But socialization will make this entire vet episode a piece of cake!
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4. Exercise Options
Owners with non-socialized dogs have very few options for exercising their dogs. While those with a fenced yard might not worry about exercise, others will face this issue of choosing a suitable space for physical activity. Non-socialized dogs will not respond well when taken to dog parks or around the neighborhood. They might either exhibit aggressiveness towards strangers and other pets or get overwhelmed with anxiety and fear in the new environment and people. However, socialization helps your dog to overcome these reactions and behave well in public spaces.
5. Easy to groom
Most dog owners give up on grooming their dogs as they find it very challenging when the dog refuses to cooperate. Even in the case of a professional groomer, non-socialized dogs are very hard to groom and this often leads to poor grooming. As you must be aware, dog grooming is highly important for the overall health of your dog and not just for good looks. Proper grooming helps to prevent a wide range of diseases and infections. So make sure your dog’s lack of socialization does not stand in the way of grooming.
6. Easy to travel
Most dogs are not comfortable with travel through any mode – car, train, bus, or flight. Travel seems strange and new to them and immediately causes tension and agitated behavior. However, socializing makes them more open to car trips and some dogs even grow to love them a lot. It also helps dogs enjoy new destinations without exhibiting hesitation to eat or potty. So if you want your pooch to be your travel buddy, then don’t forget to socialize him!
7. Adapt to new environments
Dogs that are socialized can easily adapt to new environments. If you are stuck at work all day or are traveling out of town, you can always leave your dog in daycare or kennel boarding without worry as the dog will blend in without causing issues. Similarly, you can also take your dog to work with you (if that’s allowed of course!) and around the neighborhood. If you are someone who wishes to take your dog along with you everywhere, then socializing is a must. You don’t want your dog creating a scene at your office, do you!
8. Reduces aggression and negative behaviors
Dogs that are always kept secluded at home with barely any exposure to the outside world, naturally tend to become more aggressive. This is often displayed when new people come home and are greeted with a continually barking and growling dog. Aggression often builds up when dogs have no proper outlet to release their energy. They are forced to let out this pent-up energy as aggression. Socialization also gets rid of negative behavior like constant chewing, barking, and seeking attention.
9. Promotes longevity
It might come as a surprise to you, but yes, socialization helps to improve your dog’s life and increase lifespan. It helps them maintain a thoroughly healthy life with a sound body and mind which reduces the risk of multiple diseases. Failing to socialize often leads to mental health issues which in turn affect the dog’s life. Thus, for a long, healthy, and happy life, make sure your pooch is socialized well!
10. Cordial relationships
Socialized dogs will be able to maintain more intimate and friendly relationships with the family members and other pets in the household. This also makes them better behaved, easy to train, and ultimately, easy to live with. If you have small children at home, then socialized dogs will be more gentle and protective of them. It also helps them maintain a good relationship with neighbors and your close friends.
Thus, in addition to providing your dog with a nutritious diet, a safe living environment, regular vaccinations and health check-ups, and loads of love, it is also important to ensure that he is socialized.
Do you agree that socialization is a necessity for dogs? Let us know in the comments below and make sure to visit Monkoodog for all your dog-related needs!