10 Tips for Helping Your Dog Be More Social
Socialization is so much more than your dog getting along with other dogs. Think of socialization as how your dog interacts with the world. Sounds. People. Environments. Objects. Footings. Helping your dog build confidence with new experiences can help you both enjoy life more.
Get to know your dog. Observe your dog and you’ll pick up a lot about how your dog feels about different environments or people. Whatever they are fearful of is an area for thoughtful socialization and confidence building.
School yourself on common signs of stress or anxiety. A panting pup isn’t necessarily a thirsty one. It can be a sign of stress. Some other common indicators include:
Timing is everything. Reward your dog for staying calm when their trigger shows up. Not before and not after. The treat or toy needs to show up when the trigger does so your dog can start to develop a positive association with it.
Strike a balance between training and relaxation. You don’t want to force your dog to do something they aren’t ready for but you don’t want to coddle them either.
Be consistent. It’s important to give your dog the same signals every time. Make sure others use the same signals too so your dog knows what each one means.
A “good job” goes far. We like to hear it and so do our dogs. Praising your dog with treats and playtime is an important part of socialization. Reward their good behavior.
Some rewards are better than others. Know what rewards work for your pup. Toys and treats are awesome but make sure to save their absolute favorites for the big wins.
Set your pup up for success. Focus on creating good experiences in environments you can trust and/or control. Go at their pace so they do not get overwhelmed.
Radiate confidence and your dog will pick up on it. Regardless of what’s happening, if you can remain calm and neutral, your dog most likely won’t develop fearful associations. Dogs have an incredible ability to pick up on how their human feels, so do your best to radiate confidence.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Dog socialization and training is a skill. Even if you didn’t have any issues with another dog, you could face unique challenges with another one. If you’re struggling, contact a positive-based trainer in your area. It can make a world of difference!le of a blog post.
- Tucked Tail
- Rigid or Crouched Body Posture
- Avoiding Interaction