How to Socialize Adult Dogs

Grant Condit / Flickr

Just like with people, socializing may not come easy for all dogs. Some are friendly at the onset. Others can be quite cautious. The type of dog breed may also influence the way your dog socializes.

If you’re looking for help with how to socialize an adult dog, then this article is for you. Read on for some suggestions you can apply to make socialization easier for your canine pet.

Have Another Pet in the House

Having two pets in the house is a great and primary way to expose them to socialization early on. Having another pet moving about in the house teaches a dog to share territory, possessions, and even food. It also provides an opportunity for your pet dog to bond with another in friendship and “brotherhood.”

Take Your Adult Dog Outside for Walks and Exploration

It’s hard to socialize when your dog only knows your home its whole life. Take it outside for walks and for exploring. This way, your pet becomes more at ease and open to exploring new grounds and meeting new faces.

At first, choose areas that have few people and dogs in them. Don’t overwhelm your dog with a large crowd.

Dog meeting
Marco de Kloet / Flickr

Visit Another Friend’s Dog

Let it get used to coming over to another dog’s turf and to make friends. Make it regular and make it fun. Buy and dedicate certain toys that you will use only when your dog meets up with another dog-friend. This can be a form of a treat in itself that your dog will look forward to. And this can also help signal your dog to assume a “sociable” pose.

Let Your Dog Hang out with Your Friends at Home

Some dog owners immediately take their dog outside when a friend comes over. Some even put their pets in a cage so as not to be a nuisance. But it’s good to let your dogs spend some time with people you have over at your house.

This teaches them socialization. And it teaches them to behave. At first, they may be unruly or noisy. But with proper training, you’ll be able to command your dog to sit and stay still.

DutchImage / Flickr

Know when to use a Leash or Muzzle on Your Pet Dog

Adult dogs can be harder to train, especially when they’ve been recluse all their life. Some rescue dogs have only known the cage as their place for every activity. Be prepared to use a leash or muzzle when the need arises.

Some dogs just make a run for it. Others start biting. Strap the leash and muzzle on when you need to. Do remember to make the strapping time as peaceful and relaxed as you can. Don’t threaten your dog with punishment. Else, he will soon grow a dislike for the leash or muzzle.

Register Your Dog for Training Classes

Training classes expose your dogs to the wonders of building skills and getting rewarded for it. It gets to see other dogs in action. Your pet also experiences being under the direction of others.

In time, your dog will develop a welcoming spirit of others. Your dog’s confidence will also increase. And it will become more at ease in new surroundings and new experiences. Lastly, your canine pet will also become disciplined in the process.

Katie Raymer / Flickr

Choose Neutral Grounds for Dog Socialization

When you first start socializing your dog, choose neutral grounds. You may go to a park and find out that there are a few dominant dogs there. Well, find another place for your dog to explore and look for friends. This ensures you and your dog both stay safe from aggressive encounters.

Train Your Dog in Stages and Increments

Don’t go all out at once. Start small and start slow. Pick small groups of people and dogs at first. Go to smaller public areas at the beginning of socialization training.

You may also need to let your dog enjoy some distance from other people and dogs initially. So be ready to advise people and dog owners to keep some space between them and your pet.

Once your adult dog gets more comfortable around others, you may let strangers and friends approach your dog. And you may let your dog approach others.

Support and Assure Your Adult Dog

Your dog will find it hard to socialize when it feels threatened or unsafe. Be there to give words and pats of assurance when friends and other dogs pay a visit to your house. Assure your dog that it’s okay.

Pack of dogs
Tommi Ekholm / Flickr

When you’re outdoors, always stay within reach. This way, you can readily respond to unexpected situations or conflicts your dog may have with other dogs or strangers.

But be careful to build an atmosphere of trust with your dog. If you are fearful and doubtful yourself, your dog may pick up on those negative emotions and react negatively.

Reward Your Dog for Its Successes

Celebrate milestones with your pet dog. Your pet will realize what great job he has accomplished. It will build anticipation for the next outdoor trip. And it will increase its confidence in socializing with others.

Final Thoughts

Dogs can be fearful and protective when you first socialize them with strangers and other dogs. So be patient and reassuring. And most of all, be calm and at peace yourself. Let your dog sense your strength and ease. And let it draw strength from your assuring voice. Lastly, start the socialization experience small and slow. This makes the adjustment easier for your pet dog. Good luck with socializing your adult dog with others!

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