Socialisation is an import aspect of raising a puppy, and there are a few dangers of not socialising your dog from an early age which can lead to an under-socialised dog and behavioural problems. Socialisation can be improved from any age, for example, Harley was an under socialised puppy.
Harley didn’t attend puppy school as I trained her myself. Also, being an extra small dog for her breed and age, I didn’t take her to dog parks because she was just too little and I felt that she would be put in danger.
Now that my friends have got small dogs, Harley is slowing interacting with other dogs and learning that it’s not scary and it can be a positive experience.
Also related: 7 Tips for Improving your Bond with your Dog
I believe that no matter what age your dog is, socialisation skills can be improved. Below are some common dangers of not socialising your dog which you may notice with your dog.
Dangers of Not Socialising Your Dog
- Uncomfortable Around Dogs
- Scared of Going Outside
- Uncomfortable Around Humans
Many dogs are scared of loud noises or unexpected sounds. A typical sensitivity is the sound of thunderstorms and fireworks. But when dogs start to show signs of ‘off’ behaviour to familiar sounds such as everyday noises of doors closing or the washing machine this can be a symptom of withdrawal.
Uncomfortable Around Dogs
Dogs that have not been socialised may show signs of being uncomfortable around other dogs. I found that Harley gets apprehensive around other dogs and stands behind me when there is another dog around.
We all want our furbabies to have friends and by exposing our dogs to have friends from an early age will help their communication skills and build their confidence.
Scared of Going Outside
Unsocial dogs may find it hard being outdoors as the sight of another dog may scare them. By taking your dog out for a walk or to the pet store where they may be a chance of meeting a new dog will help build confidence.
Showing signs of nervousness or anxiety is common in un-socialised dogs as they have feelings that they do not understand. A nervous or anxious dog will often stand behind the owner or alienate themselves from the group.
Also related: 5 Common Signs of Lethargy in Dogs
Tips to Help with Socialising Your Dog
You can avoid these dangers by socialising your dog from an early age. Puppy school is a great way to start the socialising process and get them interacting with fellow dogs their age.
For adult dogs, it can be a more challenging. Starting off slow will help ease your dog into socialising. Going for a walk in the morning where you may pass one or two dogs will help break the cycle. Once your dog is comfortable with going for walks, start to introduce something new such as a trip to the pet store or a friends house.
Going to the dog park should be the last step in socialising your dog as a dog park can be very overwhelming even at the best of times.
The secret to success is to ensure that your socialising is a positive experience for your dog. Reward with treats and positive reinforcement. Forcing your dog to socialise can be detrimental when they are not ready. Remeber to start slow and just have a good time together.
Over to you: What other tips can you add to help dogs socialise?
Gina and Harley