Almost all new dog owners know i
One of the best things you can do for
your dog is to help prevent a fearful
response to a situation and the many
effects this can cause. Nervousness due
to a lack of proper socialization can
manifest in biting, chewing,
housebreaking errors, barking, and
separation anxiety. You can socialize
your pet by gently exposing her to a
variety of situations. The younger you
begin, the better, as puppies absorb
things faster, but all dogs can be
gradually brought into new and even
initially fearful circumstances and
learn to enjoy (or at least tolerate)
Expose your dog to something new or
something she is fearful of in the
Remain calm. Speak to your dog in a
confident and matter-of-fact tone.
Keep tension off of the leash.
Avoid petting or cooing to your dog
if she is reacting in a manner you
would not like to reinforce (jumping
around, scared, etc.).
Expose the dog gradually to what she
is fearful of, never forcing her.
Allow her to retreat if she wants
When she is being calm, praise, give
treats and pet her.
Use treats or toys to lure her
through the experience (ex. Put
treats on the floor near a new
person Then give the new person
treats to hand to the dog).
Typical situations to work on:
New people: Of all races and ages.
Include people wearing hats,
backpacks, carrying canes, in
wheelchairs and behaving strangely
such as barking at your dog.
Being held and touched in a slightly
rough or medical/grooming manner.
The vet or groomer's office
Loud noises and strange objects (ex.
umbrella opening, loud trucks)
Being left alone for longer than
The boarding kennel
A crowded place like a pet store or
A great way to let your dog meet
people and other dogs is by going to a
place like Petco or PetSmart where dogs
are allowed inside the store. I would
suggest doing this on a weekly basis and
then more sporadically as your dog
becomes more comfortable around all
people and dogs. Puppies under 4 months
can safely visit one of these stores
inside the cart.
Click here for our article on how to socialize puppies that are afraid of people.