How to Socialize Your Dog with Other Dogs and Pets

Socializing your dog is important if you want to bring her into a home where there are already other dogs and pets. It is easier to socialize a puppy than it is to socialize an adult dog. If the adult dog was socialized before, it may make things easier.

Socialization is something that will take time and you should read up and ask advice from veterinarians and dog trainers. The best way to approach socialization is to take it slow and allow your dog to adjust and make friends at her own pace. Here are some steps you can take as well as some things you need to keep in mind.

Introduce them at a distance. When your new dog is meeting the other pets in your house, do it at a distance. Use barriers like childproof barriers to separate them at first. Allow them to look at each other and eventually move closer. Don’t force interaction.

Keep an eye on your dog’s reaction. You should watch your new dog for signs of distress and fear like raised hair on the neck, growling, baring teeth, tail between the legs, etc. These behaviors are fear-based and should not be punished. When your dog responds this way, remove them from the situation and try again later.

Don’t punish fear-based behavior. When a dog starts growling or barking or shows other signs of distress, it is most likely because they are anxious and afraid. Never punish these behaviors as it will reinforce the fear. Rather remove the dog from the situation or give them a different command like ‘sit’.

Allow your dog to adjust. Don’t force interaction and don’t just throw your new dog together with your other pets and hope for the best. If the first interaction is not successful, keep trying at a distance until the dog becomes less afraid and calmer. When it seems that she has started to adjust, you can allow closer interaction and see how it goes. Take it slow and ensure that your pets get to know each other on their terms.

Allow contact. When you see that the dogs are sniffing and interested in making contact, you can remove the barriers or leashes and allow them to sniff and sum each other up. Again, be wary of anxious behavior and be ready to step in if the interaction becomes aggressive. If there is no aggression, allow the dogs to play and interact on their own terms.

Reward good behavior. When your dogs remain calm with new interactions or behave well, reward them with praise or treats. This will reinforce good behavior and make them understand what you want to happen.

Once your dogs have become acquainted, keep an eye on them for a few days to ensure that they are fine. You can introduce cats like this as well, but it may be a bit more difficult depending on your cat. You can also socialize your dog by attending some of our great events.

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