As a dog owner, you probably know that the best time to socialize your pet is while they’re still a puppy. This means exposing your pups to people and other dogs between the ages of 3 to 12 weeks.
At this stage, puppies are generally accepting of new dogs, people, animals and places; thus, training them to feel at ease is relatively easy. After 12 weeks, you’ll have a tough time introducing your pup to someone or anything unfamiliar to them.
Importance of continuing the process
Socialization does not end at puppyhood. Rather, it should continue well into adulthood. Dogs can undergo personality changes and manifest hostile behavior even if they were well socialized. This is especially evident during their adolescent years.
Dog owners have to realize that the process of socialization must be ongoing and perpetual. If you have taught your dog to get along with the big wide world from puppyhood, he is less likely to become fearful, aggressive and anxious as he enters adolescence.
Socialization with humans
You want your dog to greet people politely. You don’t want him to growl at people coming into your home. Think about how you feel when you drop by a friend’s house and you can’t come in because the dog is barking maniacally.
Some dogs are wary of men and children, but are fine with women. Some are also suspicious of people with dark sunglasses, floppy hat, beard or cane. Additionally, there are dogs that are observant of a person’s color and tend to react with suspicion if it’s not what they are used to. To prevent this, be sure to introduce your dog to people of different ages, gender and color so that he is comfortable with everyone.
Socializing doesn’t have to be something that you have to deal with on your own. You can enroll your pet in a puppy school, where trainers will teach your dog how to relate to others.