Turning Your Dog Into A Socialist

"Look, we're not talking about sending your capitalist cur to China. The dog doesn't have to join a commune or start going to Party meetings. There are no secret handshakes. No pea-green uniforms involved.

What we are getting at is teaching your pal how to get along well with others, be they dogs, people or hard-core Commies. You want to get them used to different kinds of environments, animals and people. The ultimate goal is a happy, well-adjusted buddy that can handle disturbing situations and surprises.
Turning Your Dog Into A Socialist

Have a Party

Once you've had your new dog, young or old, in your house for a few days, it's time to throw a small, intimate party. Have a couple of your friends over for a meet-and-greet. Not too many; one or two at a time. Once the dog is comfortable, let your friends slowly introduce hats, canes or other human accoutrements into the environment. Fetch a couple of treats and pass them out to the party-goers. Then ask you friends to occasionally request the dog come over to them. Pass out the party favors to your mutt.

Socialization is not a one-shot deal. This will be going on until they climb the final hill. Changing things up when you go for a walk or visit a doggy park expands their circle of friends, keeping them from getting bored and paranoid.

If you fail to take a proactive approach to socialization, you risk placing your pet into a rut. In other words, the dog may go nuts. It will fear things, it will bark like a total fool, it will fight other animals, it will bite stuff like people and other canines.

Let's start doing the socialization tango with a new puppy. Between 3-to-12 weeks is primetime for the little goof-offs. Frankly, if you haven't thought about it, you really should take that furry baby to puppy classes. This does a couple of things: It teaches the puppy some of the more important facts of life and it's a great way to begin the socialization process. Just remember, socialization is a life-long commitment you must make with your dog.

There's this book called ""The Other End of the Leash."" Dr. Patricia McConnell is the author and an animal behavior specialist. She writes about ""juvenile-onset shyness,"" which is part of some dog's composition. At this time in their adolescence, the canine starts showing the same type of behaviors as a human teenager. They become withdrawn and are willing to pick fights over the stupidest things.

A properly socialized animal who continues to be exposed to new things is less likely to turn into a juvenile delinquent."

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