Do you have a new puppy or maybe a dog you adopted during COVID when normal socialization was difficult to do? As vaccination allows our lives return to something close to normal, now is a great time to get out there and socialize your dog! (Of course, protect your own health first, and follow all appropriate COVID precautions!)
Fear aggression is a very common behavior problem in dogs, and is mostly caused simply by lack of positive and neutral exposure to a wide range of people, things, and experiences during their early months. Ideally, socialization begins in early puppyhood, but it's never too late to work on it, and sooner is always better than later. Many of our dogs might need a refresher this summer after a year of relative isolation.
Be sure to bring a pocket full of favorite treats on your outings, and ask everyone you meet to give your dog a treat and a pet if they are willing and your dog is eager. Remember, socialization is all about making sure your dog is comfortable, happy, and not fearful. Keep things fun, calm, and happy! If something is scary to your dog, gently and quietly change the scenery and try baby steps next time. If a man on a bike is scary up close, try just hanging out across the street or across the park next time with lots of treats. Over time, with baby steps and lots of treats, nearly all dogs can become accustomed to a wide variety of experiences. If you find yourself stuck and your dog frightened or showing aggressive behavior, don't hesitate to contact us for help!
PARVOVIRUS CAUTION: Before you begin, remember to avoid exposing your puppy to dogs you don't know are well vaccinated or to soil where dogs play or go to the bathroom until your puppy has completed their entire puppy vaccine series and you get the all-clear from the veterinarian. Until then, focus on socializing to people, places and experiences that don't expose your puppy to dog-germs.
Download & print Dr. Sophia Yin's awesome socialization checklists on the icon below, and bring them in to your next appointment, too! Show us the good socialization work you're doing with your dog, and we'll give them a toy or special treat to celebrate their progress!