How to successfully socialise your dog ?
Is your pooch the cutest of dogs but sometimes gets aggressive towards his peers? Does he love only you and is he jealous of other family members? Socialising your dog is essential for his well-being and your own. To be able to go for a quiet stroll with your dog, know that your acquaintances are safe and strengthen your bond with your pet, it is essential to have a sociable dog. However, it is not always easy to know how to socialise your dog well! That’s why in this article we explain some simple steps you can incorporate into your daily life in order to live in harmony with your dog. Let’s go!
1| Practice positive education to socialise your dog well
Despite his large ears, does your dog pretend not to hear when you ask him to get off the sofa? Does he pounce on his bowl when it’s time to eat, ignoring all the rules of good behaviour? OK, it’s time to teach him some commands and set some limits!
If the word « education » frightens you because it brings to mind traditional punitive techniques based on force and intimidation, don’t worry! At Dog Chef, our credo is positive education! The idea is to teach your dog to behave well with people and other dogs through positive reinforcement.
For example, if you teach your dog not to jump on your friends when they come to dinner, praise him when he follows your instructions. You can encourage him with:
- A big cuddle
- A little treat
- A playful tone
- His favourite toy
This will encourage him to start again, and he will learn this good habit more easily. Remember, dogs love to please their owners and hear compliments!
Putting your dog in a winning situation is the key to success! You can house-train your pet, teach him to fetch, to obey basic commands and all this in a way that is fun for him and you! By putting your dog in a successful position, you reinforce his self-confidence and establish a sound basis for making him more sociable.
Positive education is very effective in socialising your dog and in particular:
- Teaching your dog to walk well on a leash
- Respect the rules of the house
- Be gentle with children
- Be nice to the other dogs in the neighbourhood
- Controlling unwanted barking
- Strengthening the master/dog relationship
- Avoiding anxious or fearful behaviour in the animal
2| Start socialising the puppy from an early age.
It is essential to start socialising your dog from a very early age. Puppies are very receptive, and it is also an opportunity for creating a harmonious relationship from the start. Educating your dog means teaching him what he can and cannot do. His mother instilled certain canine codes in him from birth and it is now up to you to continue socialising him.
The most important learning period for a puppy is between 8 and 16 weeks. This is the best time to provide him with the essential foundation for his education. It has been shown that the earlier a puppy is socialised, the better the results!
However, rest assured that if you adopt an adult dog, it is never too late to educate and socialise it! You will just need to demonstrate greater patience and perseverance.
If you don’t know how to educate and socialise your puppy or adult dog, you can get help from a dog trainer or a canine behavioural specialist. This dog specialist will show you how to teach your puppy basic obedience exercises and build a trusting relationship with your pet. The training professional will not educate your dog for you but will give you all the keys to successful socialisation.
3| Spend time with your dog to socialise it.
Dogs are social animals. They are not meant to be left alone and need interaction with you in order to be happy! According to their history, not all dogs relate to humans with the same level of calmness.
Spending quality time with your puppy or adult dog is essential in socialising them and giving them confidence in you. By socialising your dog, you make him understand that humans are his friends!
Spending time with your dog enables you to:
- Reinforce his basic training
- Get him used to the presence of adults and children
- Play and exercise with him
- Cuddle him
- Take him for a walk to get him used to the outdoors
4| Offer your dog a rich social life.
You love him, he adores you, all is well in the best of all possible worlds! Even if you are a great duo, remember that your dog also needs to be around other animals! Avoiding them doesn’t do him any favours, on the contrary!
If your pooch isn’t the most sociable of dogs, you need to develop his social life by associating it with positive education. The more he encounters other sociable dogs, the more his fear of the unknown will decrease. He will thus be less likely to act aggressively.
To socialise your dog, you can, for example:
- Go to the park at peak times
- Register for an agility course
- Try out a training session at a club
- Do cani cross
- Go rambling with your dog
All these activities are fun and will increase the number of encounters with dogs and other animals. If he’s not aggressive, let your dog touch other pooches’ muzzles. Preferably introduce him to dogs of the same size that are calm-natured and of the opposite sex.
Mistakes to be avoided:
- Carrying your dog when you come across another dog
- Communicating your stress to him
- Stroking him if he barks
- Changing course if you see another dog
- Forcing your dog: if he is uncomfortable and prefers to flee contact, respect that
In short, here are 6 good reasons for socialising your dog:
- Having a zen dog that feels comfortable with himself
- Feeling relaxed when you take your dog for a walk
- Greatly reducing the risk of a fight
- Seeing your dog having the time of his life with his peers
- Letting your dog roam free without fearing encountering another dog
- Making having a pet a peaceful experience
And how about you, how have you socialised your dog? Are you employing positive education? Tell us all about it!