5 Reasons to socialise your dog
While early socialisation is important, it’s never too late to start and should always be part of your dog’s normal routine. Here’s some reasons why:
1. Fear and confidence building
Dogs who haven’t had the opportunity to socialise are often fearful or new or unusual situations, whether that’s a new environment, people or other dogs. This sets off neurological signals to the rest of the body, ultimately resulting in the fight or flight response. Just like humans, the more varied a dog’s experience, the better their coping mechanism. This means they are able to cope better in every day situations and make the correct behavioural choices.
2. Mental Stimulation
Mental stimulation is a huge part of a dog’s life and working dogs really thrive off these opportunities. There’s lots of games you can play in the house, but there is a whole other world outside the front door for them to explore with lots of new smells and people and dogs to meet!
Dogs crave being with other dogs and learn from copying other dogs. Studies show that there is a whole language and moral code behind dog play. While play time should be supervised to make sure everybody is happy, it’s a great way to burn off some extra energy, learn some doggy manners and boundaries and have some good old fashioned fun!
3. The V word
If you are an animal owner, there is simply no escaping the vets, but you can try to make the experience as positive as possible for both you and your furry friend.
A trips to the vets can be stressful before you’ve even reached the consulting room. Waiting rooms are busy with lots of strange animals and people and when it’s finally your turn, your dog faces an invasion of their personal space and some potentially uncomfortable procedures of examinations. A fearful dog without a good coping mechanism can make bad choices in these situations.
The good news is that you can help make the vets a more pleasant experience for everybody. A well socialised dog who has had lots of positive experiences with new people and animals will be more confident at the vets and make better decisions.
Grooming is not just about keeping your dog looking good. There’s many important health benefits to grooming. Whether you groom your dog at home or take your dog to a professional groomer, having a dog that is comfortable with people in their space and manoeuvring paws and ears makes the process much easier.
If you want to take your dog travelling with you, exposing your dog to new situations in advance will mean that they are much happier and confident on holiday which in turn makes the trip more fun for everybody!
If your dog is going to boarding kennels or a dog sitter, a well socialised dog will adjust better to staying with different people and dogs in a different setting.
So how do I socialise my rescue dog?
Dog training classes are a great place to take your new arrival. They can meet lots of other dogs and you can do some basic training at the same time! You may also want to consider using a trusted dog walker or daycare while you are out so that your dog can mix with others instead of being left home alone. Finding some local dog walkers is also a great way to make sure your dog gets plenty of play time each day.
Remember, it’s important not to put your dog in a situation where they are not happy and comfortable. Socialisation should be a thoughtful process that takes into account the individual dogs personality, fears and current confidence.
If you would like extra help on how to socialise your scared or reactive dog, you can find further support here.