Tips and Tricks Tuesday: Socializing your Adult Dog

Socializing an Adult Dog with Other Dogs

 Take Your Dog Out to Observe

  1. Visit a dog park but don’t go in.
  2. Allow your dog to watch the other pups and observe their behavior.
  3. Every time a dog comes near the fence, give your dog a treat. This creates a positive association with other dogs.
  4. If your dog reacts aggressively towards the dogs in the park, move further away and slowly move up until he is quiet.

Resist Tugging While Walking

When out walking and another dog comes into view, resist jerking on the lead and yelling at your dog. This reinforces seeing other dogs as a negative experience. Instead, distract your dog with a treat or toy, use the command “Watch me!” and praise him when he pays attention to you.

Go to Obedience Class

Dog obedience class is a great way to help socialize an adult dog before attempting going into dog parks or daycare. Because your dog is learning commands, he is distracted most of the time.

Go to a dog daycare facility

Allow individuals who know dogs and dog behavior well to help introduce your dog to other pups.  This allows your dog to meet other dogs in a controlled environment and under and observant and knowledgeable eye.


Socializing an Adult Dog with Humans

Socialize with Family

The first step is to socialize your dog with your family. This is best done slowly and patience is a virtue here. Dogs and humans speak a different language so you’ll both be learning how to communicate.

Ignore Your Dog

When your dog runs to hide from you, don’t go after him and pull him from under the bed. Ignore him and do something that will persuade him to come out like playing with his toys or frying up some bacon. Dogs are curious and social creatures and they’ll eventually become bored and lonely by themselves. Reward him with a bit of that bacon when he comes out.

Be Casual

By acting as if your dog’s behavior is no big deal, you’re creating a calmer environment and, thus, a calmer dog. So when he streaks under your legs because the postman is at the door, go on about your business as usual.

Introduce People Slowly

Very slowly add people into your dog’s life. When they meet your dog, have them offer a treat and speak in a happy, low, encouraging voice. You don’t want to use a high pitch which could excite him. Keep your dog on a leash at first but do not force him to go near the person. Let him take his time.

The main thing to remember when socializing an adult dog is to be positive and to make each new experience a good one with praise and treats. Corrections do not work well here and will likely will create a more nervous dog.