Adult Dog Socialization - Tips and Tricks
Adult Dog Socialization
Dog socialization is often talked about as a critical period of time for the development of a puppy, 3 weeks to 3 months of age is what most experts define as the sensitive period of socialization. But what happens if the dog does not receive proper socialization in that period or you adopt an older dog? Is there anything you can do to help them enjoy society and the stresses of our current environment? There is, read further to learn just what you can do
Dogs that are not adequately socialized will have behavioral problems. We can divide these disorders into two groups:
- Fearful, distrustful, and aggressive behavior
- Lack of focus, overexcited, and too intense behavior.
These behaviors can easily occur if your dog has not been properly socialized at a young age. The good news, however, is that a reasonable level of socialization can still be achieved with an older dog. One of the key differences is that older dogs may take more time for this. It is very important not to stress dog! You will have to take your time and ensure that these situations have a positive impact on your dog, and over time they will become used to and comfortable with these changes.
Encourage positive reactions, and give your dog some space if you see that they are not comfortable. Keep in mind you’re not trying to overwhelm your pet with new experiences – quantity is not better than quality! So take it slow and keep a relaxed demeanor.
Things to pay attention to during the socialization of an adult dog:
- Relaxing your dog – As said before, you must not force your dog into uncomfortable situations. Do not overwhelm them with too many things at once, that will only make them more anxious.
- Try to keep your pet focused on you – When your dog is uncomfortable, try focusing his attention to you. Teaching a dog to focus on his owner can help prevent many stressful situations; it helps them be more trusting towards you and also comfortable in new environments. For this reason, it’s important to foster a relationship of trust between you and your pet instead of fear. As your pet learns to trust you more he will begin turning to you in times of stress and anxiety. This does not happen when the relationship is based on fear.
To put this another way, if you teach your dog to focus on you, even when he is insecure he will follow your lead.
- Progressing the comfort zone – when your dog is relaxed and focused, that’s the moment you may push their comfort zone a little bit. Only then! And this is when you repeat these three steps and progress their socialization
Socializing an adult dog to other dogs
The most common problem with unsocialized dogs is that they have issues when it comes to meeting other dogs they do not know. Many will say that you should try socializing your dog in dog parks, but that could be too much for an not enough socialized pet.
So here is what you could do:
If you want your dog to socialize with other dogs, it would be ideal to find a calm well-socialized dog (or a few) who will not get too excited. There should be some distance between them at first until your dog calms down completely. Do not pull on the leash, if your dog is excited - turn him around and walk him in some other direction, until he clams down. If he is excited, make a greater distance between them, or if he is calm, you may get closer to the other dog.
In situations where another dog comes directly on your dog, it’s natural for your dog to feel threatened or scared, which leads to fearful or aggressive behavior, so try to avoid introducing your dog to other animals in a direct manner. Instead, try introducing the two dogs while parallel walking - this allows them to feel part of the pack instead of confronting each other. During the parallel walking, begin with space in-between the two dogs, you can then get closer to the other dog if you notice that yours is relaxed, or add some distance if he is too excited or nervous. If your dog appears relaxed during a close parallel walk, you can then let them approach each other.
In this whole process, it would be good to use a muzzle, which you can take off once you see that both dogs are relaxed and playful. It's also important for the owner to stay calm as your mood or behavior plays a large roll in your pet's behavior.
We hope this short article on socializing your adult pet will help you take them to the next level. There is always something more to learn and teach the wonderful pets in our lives.
Adeo Pets Team
Images courtsy of FreePik.com
<a href="https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/people">People photo created by freepik - www.freepik.com</a>
- Feb 28, 2019
- in Pet Blog