Our parents have taught us a lot of good things. I remember when I was a kid, my mom taught me to say THANKS every time someone helped me . This shows that you not only recognize one’s efforts to assist you, but you are extremely grateful for the time they invested in finding the solution to your problem. The same technique works for dogs. To a little puppy, you can teach various obedience commands such as sit, come, controlled walking, stay, down, etc.
What if you have an older dog that has been kept at home? Can you socialize it now? Yes, you can. Read on to learn some tried & tested methods of socializing an older dog.
Take Your Dog on Short Walks
Short walks offers opportunities for dogs to meet other dogs & pet owners, and practice good behavior. When you are out with your furry friend, you are more likely to get into more social situations. Walks are wonderful for pets because they increase energy levels and boost mood.
When you take out your emotional support animal for the first time, it may act weirdly. So, if it does the same, don’t pull back on the leash or yell at it. Because this may make their experience negative. Remember, your dog is experiencing something it has never tried before, so let it do whatever it wants to. However, you can distract them when it's doing something wrong.
Invite People to Your Home
Invite your friends and colleagues at home. Host them in the space (such as a living room or backyard) where your dog feels comfortable. Initially, you shouldn’t introduce your pet to them because this may overwhelm the four-legged animal. Instead, allow your pet to make the first move. If your pet doesn’t investigate the space, your guests can simply toss treats to show love. Keep the environment positive, ensure your dog is relaxed and associated with new people.
Slowly Take Your Dog to The Dog Park
A dog park is a special park where dogs visit for exercising and playing fun games off-leash. They are under the supervision of their owners. Taking your pet to the park is the best way to develop social skills in it. Initially, you should walk it around the park’s perimeter, and let it watch what other dogs are doing. Slowly, you can get it close to other pets, allowing it to interact with them. Whenever your dog shows a positive behavior and react in a friendly way, give a treat. This will encourage your pet to develop positive skills. Let’s see the other side of the coin. If it reacts aggressively, move it away immediately until it starts feeling calm again. Don’t get anxious if your dog doesn’t have a great first visit. Instead, have patience and make controlled practices.
Socialize With Food & Fun
By not socializing, your dog may miss a lot of things and afraid of doing many activities. So, it’s good to use distractions to change the mind of your pet. Food can be used as the best tool to help it get off fear. Your dog will feel more comfortable and enjoy its time.
Some pets enjoy playing games. So, if your dog loves fetching a rubber ball rather than eating food, then it’s good to take its favorite toys whenever you go out.
However, you should visit the scary situations (i.e. great distance and highly crowded places) regularly to make your pet used to it and get off any fear. However, this isn’t something that will happen overnight. It can take some time. So, be patient, and let your dog adjust in the new environment.
Seek Professional Help
Socialization is about introducing your beloved pet to the outer world, which isn’t easy. Also, it depends on the dog breed you own, some dogs learn new things easily while others may take some time. Don’t worry if your pet isn’t responding well to your techniques. However, you can hire a professional trainer to help you socialize your dog. Canine coaches are experts in reading dogs’ body language and emotions, thus designing effective socialization strategies that work.
A Google search can provide you a list of dog trainers near you. However, you should create an excel sheet, and note down address, contact number & other details. Compare the services and prices of each trainer, and hire the right one.
To sum up, it’s usual that an older dog may miss some of the socialization aspects when it was growing up. Taking it on short walks regularly and making it feel comfortable in situations it feels uncomfortable can be helpful in improving its quality of life. You should invite your friends and colleagues to your home regularly. Don’t introduce your pet to them—let it go to them instead. Be patient, and let your dog learn things in his own style.