As pack animals, dogs are naturally social creatures. In the wild, they naturally develop the skills they need to be around other dogs and react appropriately to both familiar and unfamiliar situations. For domestic dogs, however, it is not so easy and as their owner it is up to you to socialise your dog and help them develop these key life skills.
Why is dog socialisation training important?
A socialised dog will be a pleasure to have around, not only for you, but also for everyone you meet, both people and other dogs. Socialised dogs are calm and in control, they are friendly but not over-friendly, and they know how they are expected to behave in a wide range of situations. If your dog is not properly socialised, it can be a stressful experience for all of you. Your dog may be nervous and anxious, or boisterous and overwhelming, and they may become snappy or even bite strangers or other dogs because they don’t know how to interact properly.
When to start dog socialisation training
Ideally, dog socialisation training should begin in the first few weeks. Young puppies will quickly learn how to mix with other dogs, trust unfamiliar people and not be stressed by strange places. But that doesn’t mean that older dogs cannot be trained too. Many people source rescue dogs rather than puppies from a breeder and so they do not have that control over their first few months. But don’t worry; you CAN teach an old dog new tricks. You just need a little more patience, or the helping hand of a professional dog trainer near Lancaster.
How to socialise your dog
Your dog is very good at reading your emotions, through your voice and your body language, so you need to always show the behaviours that you expect from your dog. If you are anxious and fearful in a new situation or when your dog approaches others, then they will feel the same way. You need to stay calm and in control, with a level voice and a relaxed approach. Don’t shout when they get it wrong and be careful not to comfort them too much if they get scared, as this only reinforces the idea that the situation was scary. Just calmly take them away and try again another day.
You need to build up their socialisation in ‘baby steps’, especially with young puppies. For example, start with walks along a quiet side road rather than jumping right in with a main road full of traffic. Similarly, lead walk them around the perimeter of the park for the first few visits, so they can see the other dogs and get used to them, before you let them loose into the free-running fun. Treats are a great way to reinforce the right behaviour, but you must remember to adjust their mealtime food intake to compensate for the extra calories.
North West dog socialisation training
Not every owner has the time or the patience to properly socialise their dog, but don’t worry, because A&T Trained Dogs are here to help. Our dog socialisation classes near Lancaster are a great way for your dog to meet new friends and learn the correct way to behave in a range of situations. Our friendly team of professional dog trainers have many years’ experience with many different types and temperaments of dog, and you’ll be amazed at what they can achieve with your four-legged friend.
To find out more about dog socialisation classes in Lancaster, or how The Lounge doggy day-care can help them learn to mix better with other dogs, give us a call today. We’ll be happy to help you turn your troubled-tearaway or cowardy-custard into a well-adjusted and confident companion.