How to Make my Dog Sociable
Do you want to make your dog more sociable? If your dog seems a little shy around other dogs or people, this is not normal behaviour. You must understand that dogs are social beings by nature because they belong to a species that live in packs and build stable relationships to ensure their survival. For this reason, they have adapted well to living with humans. If your dog has a problem with socialising, they will suffer from bad experiences and learning, so this OneHowTo.com explains how to make your dog sociable.
In order for your dog to be sociable, you must start by recognising that this depends on you. A dog is sociable and happy if you care about their welfare and you dedicate time to their social education. So you must do the impossible so that your dog learns to socialise, although it is usually best to expose your dog to new experiences when they are a puppy. What really matters is that those encounters are positive because they can leave a mark which is very difficult to combat.
This OneHowTo gives you some tips so you know how to introduce two dogs in a favourable way to each other.
A key aspect is to know when to start socialising your dog. Ideally, you should do it at an early age, i.e., when they are aged between three and twelve weeks old as this is when they are programmed to gain new experiences. This includes discovering sounds, smells, textures and flavours. This is also a stage where they are protected by their mother and feel hungry for knowledge.
From the fourth month of life, they are less predisposed to new things. This is because they start to live without their mother close by, and their instincts protect them from anything new as it could be a potential threat. This is pure genetics and without maternal protection, they try to stay safe and everything new is viewed with less enthusiasm. This does not mean that, once your dog has grown up, that they cannot keep on learning. It just means that it will be harder but, as always, nothing is impossible with love and patience.
To help your pet to socialise, an important recommendation is that you try to never expose your dog to negative experiences. A bad encounter will cause your dog to not relate well with others in the future, so if they fight with other dogs, they will learn to be afraid and may become aggressive.
Good advice for promoting their social behaviour is that when you play with them, do not tolerate any behaviour that promotes violence towards people. Classic fighting games are basic for learning how to hunt and protect themselves, but it is better if you focus these activities with toys or dogs of similar ages. If you see them trying to play roughly, you will have to be firm and say no, but never scream at them or cause them any pain because this will generate a lot of mistrust.
Your dog should become used to dealing with people so you must devote time to having daily physical contact with them. Not only will you develop an attachment but they will know that they are safe by your side. For as long as you can every day, scratch their head, stroke their back, legs and stomach. If they react well, keep doing it frequently and while you do it, speak to them softly and slowly so that they feel absolutely peaceful and safe.
Over time, stroke their tail and even the pads of their feet. Do everything you can to make it easier during vet visits. These contact sessions should take place in any place where your pet spends time, so that they get used to different environmental signals such as sounds, smells and textures.
Another strategy for starting their socialisation is that when you present your dog to strangers, do not force it. You should make the rules of the game very clear by speaking softly, for example, and when any aggressive behaviour appears, don't continue with their company. You should also be very careful around children. Do not allow them to treat them roughly.
The rules to follow are that whenever your pet is quiet, allow them to approach people without a problem so if you notice your dog feels uncomfortable or anxious, end the session. To socialise your dog with other animals, it is important to present their smell by giving them any object that is impregnated with their aroma.
You should understand that when you introduce two dogs, they are strangers. For example, dogs often sniff each other to get information from other animals, so do not just interpret that if they wag their tails they are happy. You should be aware of other signals. Maybe it's best to start presenting them from two separate rooms, just in case.
Take care with big dogs as they tend to be more at risk when relating to cats. Remember that cats are very fast and a cat could leave a scratch on your dog. You should also be cautious when presenting cats and small dogs because cats may believe they are their prey. OneHowTo gives you some guidelines for dogs and cats to get along.
Another recommendation for making your dog more sociable includes paying attention during encounters or in the presence of children. If you think it's a good strategy to take your pet to the park and allow all children to approach, we would advise that it isn't wise. It may seem like your dog is not complaining, but inside they may feel afraid. If there are children who want to approach, try to make them follow rules and allow them to approach gradually.
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