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Socializing Your Dog

As a loving dog owner we would, of course, want to keep our dog safe from harm.  There are times, however, whenever we need to have our dogs exposed to potentially dangerous situations.  It doesn't matter how loving and kind of a dog we have, we can't control the type of dogs that they might meet up with when we were out and about.  It is therefore important to understand how to properly socialize your dog in order for it to be as comfortable as possible around other dogs.  Here are some tips to get you started. 

You should begin the socialization project early in your puppy's life.  By giving positive reinforcement through contact with other people and friendly pets you will help it to become well-rounded later in life.  You should begin the socialization project around the 12th week of your puppy's life.  Introduce it to other animals and people on a gradual basis.  Some dogs may take to socialization very easy and you will never have any problem with them.  There can be a problem, however, if your dog is overly friendly and does not understand that it may be unacceptable to other dogs.  If this is the case then you will have two dull its enthusiasm (at least in a small way) through obedience training. 

There may be situations that make your dog naturally uncomfortable.  For example, some dogs are naturally unwary around males.  If this is the case with your dog then you may want to introduce it to some males in a controlled environment in order to reinforce some positive feelings upon the dog.  Make sure that you do not overwhelm the dog at first as this could cause more harm than good. 

Once you have established some socialization skills with your dog you may want to put it in an environment with other dogs to help continue its training.  Local obedience classes provide a perfect environment for you to do this.  Not only can they be around other dogs, but a trained professional will be present in case there are any problems.  Many dogs that have serious socialization problems are required to wear a muzzle or perhaps a restraining collar in order to keep the class safe from a potentially dangerous problem. 

Socializing your dog is a lifelong process.  It should not be thought that you will be able to train them as a puppy and that they will remember all of those skills throughout their life.  Just as a human need to continue their training in order to become more proficient at a task, a dog will need to continue training in order to make sure that no socialization problems crop up in the future. 

Taking care of your dog in this way is one of the most loving things that you can do.  A dog that is well-trained and socialized is a treat to have as you are not confined to your house out of fear that something might go wrong.  It also helps your dog to be more balanced and to live a more productive life.



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