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Raising A Well-Socialized Dog

To raise a well-socialized dog, you must start with diligence as a pup. Begin by researching and understanding your breed of dog (when possible), this will allow you some insight to the breed's characteristics. Once you have a good grasp on the breed, and bring your pup home, take him or her everywhere. Expose your pup to many different situations, environments, and children. Taking the pup to the veterinarian's office can turn out to be a wonderful socializing experience. Make sure the pup is greeted warmly by the vet assistants and staff. Allow the pup to be petted and handled by staff, which will help in future visits to the veterinarian's office when your dog remembers the friendly faces he met at the last visit.

Pups can and should attend obedience class as soon as they have had all their vaccinations. Feel free to check out several different obedience classes without your dog. This will allow you to evaluate the class, environment, and the instructor's techniques. In addition, it will allow you to speak with other pup/dog owners and get their input on the classes.

Provide your pup/dog plenty of exercise, as this allows him to be more docile and accepting of new people and environments. If you know that you will have company over, take your pup/dog for a walk. This will expel some of their energy and allow you more control until the excitement of having guests diminishes. It can be helpful to have your pup/dog on a leash so that you have more control of the situation. NEVER EVER let your dog be "smothered with attention" by an individual he/she is not familiar. With a pup, be aware of the pup’s body language and allow for intermittent breaks from guests, by going out to the yard for a little romp.

Another good way to socialize your pup/dog is by taking her to work. Be sure to verify your employer's policies regarding bringing your dog to work. Allow different co-workers to interact with your dog by taking them outside for some fresh air. (See Dogs in the Workplace Etiquette).

If you are not planning on breeding your dog, you may want to consider having it spayed/neutered. There are certain health and behavioral benefits that can had by spaying/neutering. Again, do your research.

An important item to remember when socializing your dog, is to be sure that you are able to devote the proper time, patience, and effort to raise a well-socialized dog. Dogs are a responsibility not to be taken lightly. By raising a well-socialized dog, he will be happier and healthier and give you many years of enjoyment and fond memories. You owe it to yourself and those around you to do the very best by your dog.