When it comes to dog socialization, many of the new dog owners and not so new dog owners are not well-informed. Socializing your dog isn’t just about socializing your dog with other dogs, it’s about bringing your dog out and about, exploring new places, meeting new people, experiencing new sights and sounds because the world isn’t a quiet place. Even if you live in rural areas, it is a good idea to bring your dog out and about.
Unfortunately, they always neglect to state that the dogs to whom you introduce your dog should be friendly, non-aggressive/non-dominant dogs. Reality is that your dog should only socialize with dogs you know personally, who are friendly, non-aggressive and non-dominant.
Even puppy and obedience classes can contribute to behavior problems in dogs if they are not properly conducted. A bad experience with a new dog, situation or person, especially at a young age, can cause behaviour problems, such as aggressive or timidity.
For example, if a dog rushes up to you and stares at it in the face, barks or jumps at it or on it, your dog may feel intimidated or scared. Nevertheless, if your dog is attacked by another dog, your dog can become aggressive. The same can happen with children; if they have a bad experience early in life it can remain with them and influence their behavior later in life.
The same can be said when you introduce your dog to unfamiliar people, places or situations. Do not force your dog into any situation that makes him comfortable or stressed. Tens slowly so that your dog has good associations. It is all about the dog. It is not about you and what you think your dog needs or should be able to handle.
If you find yourself in a situation where your dog becomes apprehensive or a bit scared/aggressive DO NOT pat your dog and say “Its OK” By doing that, you have just praised your dog for being scared/aggressive. Instead, gently tell him ‘no’, get your dog to focus on you so that he can behave more naturally. Do some obedience, dog parkour or whatever else your dog enjoys – and sometimes if that means removing your dog from the situation to a place where your dog feels more comfortable – that’s fine too.