Why Do Dogs Need to Socialize with Other Dogs?

Did you know that one of the main reasons dogs are relinquished to shelters is behavioral problems? Many people jump at the chance to buy or adopt a puppy but don’t realize the work that goes into raising a well behaved and well adjusted dog.

Raising a puppy to be a “good dog” is much like raising a child. They must be taught the “rules” of how to react and act in situations. The way that humans and dogs learn to be “good” is through socialization. Socialization is learning the proper rules and etiquette of all kinds of situations.

Just like humans learn to be “human” through interactions with other people, dogs must learn how to be “dogs” from other dogs. Yes, humans, as their owners, can help socialize dogs by providing opportunities for them to be in new situations. However, the most important factor in dog socialization is by having them interact with other dogs.

When to Start Socializing your Dog

Socialization starts the moment a puppy is born and should continue throughout their lives. Puppies learn the basics of proper behavior from interacting with their mom and littermates. Allowing them to spend adequate time with their litter and mom is integral in creating a solid socialization foundation. Once they leave the safety of their litter, puppies enter a new world of scary, weird, and unfamiliar situations. The new owner’s part in continuing their socialization starts here.

Puppy Classes

From the day you bring a puppy home, you should be safely socializing your puppy. Puppy classes are a great way to start introducing them to strange dogs and environments. A properly run puppy is a safe place where both you and your puppy can learn about good dog behavior. Not only do they meet “strange” dogs, but they also get to meet “strange” people like the class organizer and other owners. All of the puppies get to burn off some of their energy too while romping and rolling together.

Dog Parks

Once your pup has become more comfortable around strange dogs in a safe environment like puppy classes, you can try taking them to a more public place. Dog parks are a great next step in their socialization journey. Dog parks are full of strange dogs and people. Your puppy can begin testing out all the new skills they’ve learned from their class. It’s also a great place for you to test your dog’s responsiveness your commands.

Make Socialization a Positive Experience

While socializing your dog, try to always make it a fun, positive experience. Don’t rush or push your puppy past their limits. This can actually create behavioral problems down the line. Take it slow and steady. Socialization is mentally and physically exhausting, so make each session short and end on a positive note.

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