Did you recently adopt an older dog? Usually, the best time to socialize a dog is while he’s still a puppy. However, if you adopted an older dog, or for health reasons, you kept him away from other dogs as a puppy, you still can socialize your older dog with success!
Whatever the reason he didn’t socialize as a puppy, you can try these tips along with loving encouragement to help your dog make some new friends and feel more comfortable in different situations.
Why Socialization is Important for Dogs
Dogs are naturally social creatures. By socializing, your dog experiences different people and pets so that he is comfortable in those environments. For example, if you adopt an older dog and take him to a friend’s house to play with her dog, he might be nervous because your dog never played with other dogs before.
Socialization is essential for dogs and their humans. This helps the dogs enjoy playing with other dogs, which leads to more exercise and playtime. Socializing your dog is important for you because it allows you comfort knowing you can bring your dog around other dogs without worry.
4 Tips on Socializing an Older Dog
Follow these four tips to help socialize your older dog. Throughout this process, stay patient with your dog and remember that this process may take longer or shorter than you may expect.
1. Lots of Walks
Take your dog on walks around the neighborhood to practice meeting other dogs and other behaviors. The two keys of success are to remain calm as you walk your dog towards another dog and communicate with the other dog owner. Your dog will feed off your energy, and it’s vital to establish communication by simply saying, “We’re working on socialization!” to give the other owner a head’s up.
2. Positive, Corrective Training
Don’t yell at your dog or jerk his leash if he acts aggressively with the other dog. Yelling at your dog creates a negative experience and association with meeting other dogs. Instead, correct his behavior with the sound you’re training him with, a firm tug of the leash sideways, or a touch to get him to redirect his focus to you.
3. Work Your Way Up to the Dog Park
After you nail down the neighborhood walk, work your way up to the dog park. First, walk him around the perimeter and let him observe the dog park. After a couple of visits, let him up to the fence and sniff another dog. Finally, after he seems comfortable and he is making progress, you can let him inside to check things out.
4. Dog Daycare
Finally, if your dog is doing well meeting other dogs and is loving the dog park, you can try out dog daycare! He will enjoy being able to run and play with his new friends for a full day while you’re away. When you check out a dog daycare to see if it’s the right fit, you can mention to the staff that you’re working on socialization, and they’ll be happy to help.
Is Today Your Dog’s Lucky Day?
If your dog is ready for dog daycare or you’re looking for a trusted boarding facility, we’d love to have you check us out. Book a tour and see if it’s the right fit for you! We’re conveniently located right near the MSP airport.