Please socialize your dogs and encourage your clients in this important aspect of dog ownership. Socialization should start early (in puppyhood) and continue well into the dog’s adult years.

Dogs yearn to learn the world, relying on their innate abilities and senses, and benefit greatly by interaction in a healthy and positive way. Early and consistent introduction to a variety of landscapes, including people, kids, other dogs and animals in public places will go a long way to developing their sense of balance and well-being…and contentment for both owner and companion. Socializing dogs with other dogs

Ideally, pet owners want the confidence that their dog has the ability to properly navigate new environments, that doesn’t always include them! Such as when they leave for work or take a vacation that doesn’t include the dog.

Too often, we see dogs that have become fearful and (some) react aggressively due to isolation at home and improper socialization.

Dogs that are isolated develop many problems, including aggression, timidity, or unusual shyness. They lack the confidence when around new people or situations and will either cower, pant excessively, drool, lower their tails, shake all over, attempt to escape the situation and in some cases, growl and/or bite (out of fear).

Think about the consequences of having to care for a dog who acts this way!

If clients are planning to travel and will be gone for several days or weeks, how will the dog react in that situation? Cage-free boarding or move-in care are great options, yet is the dog prepared to be separated if the client is his only world experience?

Consider the professional opinions of Daniel Estep, Ph.D. and Suzanne Hetts, Ph.D., Certified Animal Behaviorists and founders of Animal Behavior Associates, Inc. https://animalbehaviorassociates.com/

“Dogs have a sensitive period for socialization between the ages of 3 and 12 weeks. This means that pleasant exposures to people, other dogs and other animals during this time will have long-lasting influences on the sociability of your dog. Well socialized dogs tend to be friendlier and less fearful of the kinds of individuals they were socialized to.

Furthermore, don’t underestimate how important it is to continue to socialize your dog well into adulthood. We’ve seen quite a few dogs that seem to have been well socialized early in life, were friendly and accepting of people and other dogs and then began to react with threats or aggression during social encounters. These dogs had no traumatic or frightening experiences but became fearful and/or aggressive later, usually beginning around 8 months to 2 years of age.”

Further support of the importance of socialization is cited by Michele Welton, author and dog trainer, in “Socializing your Puppy or Adult Dog to Get Along with the World”: *

“Un-socialized dogs often develop fears and fetishes. Fears and stresses are bad for your dog’s health. Socialization takes away those fears and stresses. You can socialize your dog to be calm about what is happening in the world around him”.

In the book “How to Be Your Dog’s Best Friend”, by the authors of “The Art of Raising a Puppy”, the Monks of New Skete: (Chapter 19): “Your Dog May be Lonely”:

“Dogs are social animals, and they need to be included in a pack. Since we have deprived them of their normal pack – animals of their own species – and the freedom to set up social structures of their own, we must include them in our pack and help them adapt to human social structures. Many pet owners perceive their charges to be incapable of enjoying human company. The tendency is to isolate dogs rather than include them.”

So, what can a dog owner do to socialize their dog?

 

  • Positive socialization can include dog obedience or agility classes, daily walks and local park outings, visiting dog-friendly stores and restaurant patios, taking them in the car and visiting friends and family (preferably those who also own dogs and have an open-door policy to other pets).
  • Enroll in local doggie daycare and/or dog training camps that offer daytime play and classes (if you don’t).
  • Encourage your clients to invite people and their pets to their home. Start with one person and one dog at a time. When they arrive, have them offer a treat and always talk in a calm and happy tone.

PET PRO TIP: host a puppy party in your home or at a local park.  Keep it short (2 hours) and include entertainment activities with lots of treats!

  • Running errands with their dog is encouraged. This can include a latte at Starbucks or a stroll through Home Depot aisles. Lots of dogs in training are brought to Home Depot for the simulation and stimulation!
  • Go to a local pet store and let the dog pick out a toy.
  • Take a hike together! You will undoubtedly encounter other dogs along the way, yet the outdoor experience and new sights and smells will be over-the-top fun for the dog.

PET PRO TIP: all of these activities can be added to your service menu as valuable add-ons for both you and your clients.  Field trips, hikes or Home Depot excursions can be fun for you too!

You can also partner with reputable doggie day-care operators to trade referrals.  The bigger your network, the more you can position yourself as a trusted resource.

Every dog, regardless of breed or age, can be a party animal. It’s up to the owner to unleash it, with your professional encouragement and services.

Hugs and party on! Join us for more educational tips and tools @ https://associationofpetprofessionals.com/join-us/

Your Pet Pro Team @ AoPP

*The complete article by Michele Welton can be read @ http://www.yourpurebredpuppy.com/training/articles/dog-socializing.html.

If you wish to view our video of a “puppy party in action”, use the “Contact Us” form and we’ll send you the link! https://associationofpetprofessionals.com/contact-us/