Teaching your dog to be social is one of your biggest responsibilities as a pet owner, and it is so much fun to help them learn how to play with other humans and canines. Whether you have a puppy or a rescued adult, teaching proper social behavior allows you to feel confident taking them to the groomer or boarding facility.
One of the best practices for animal daycare or boarding is to pair dogs up with buddies that they can play with during outside time. This helps to increase their overall happiness, and having a friend to run with lets your dog burn off that extra energy while you are away.
A dog that is comfortable in social situations will also adapt more quickly when they need important services such as grooming. Fortunately, you can help your dog become socialized by incorporating these tips into their training before you need to board them for any length of time.
Begin Training Early
The prime window for socializing puppies is between 3 to 12 weeks of age. While this is when they are most receptive to most types of training, that doesn't mean that you can't start earlier or even teach an older dog new tricks.
With younger puppies, you will need to serve as their primary source of socialization until they get their vet's approval and vaccinations. Give them lots of love, and make it clear that humans and any other household pets you have are friendly.
For older dogs, be respectful of their current temperament and background. For instance, a rescue dog with a rough background will need a little extra time to get comfortable with other animals and humans. For this reason, you may want to start socializing them several weeks or months before you expect to need dog daycare.
Start With Small Introductions
Imagine how overwhelming it is to be forced to walk into a room full of strangers and try to make friends. This is how your puppy might feel if you throw them into the dog park before they have learned how to handle one-on-one meetings.
For this reason, it is helpful to start with introducing your dogs to other puppies and people on their home turf. This way, you can control the environment and make sure that the initial contact happens during a time when your dog is calm and comfortable.
Consider inviting a friend to bring over their puppy, or you could have a family member visit and play with your puppy while you leave the room. Letting your dog get accustomed to other people and animals slowly increases the chances of a positive response.
Introduce a Variety of Environments
As your dog becomes comfortable with socializing at home, it is time to introduce them to new environments. Ideally, your dog should be introduced to as many different types of experiences as possible during their first few months of life. This helps them adjust to different sights and sounds right away.
Approximately seven days after your dog receives their vaccinations, you can safely take them out into public spaces where other animals and humans are present. Let them romp at the dog park while you stay nearby, or take them to a pet-friendly restaurant where they can soak up the sounds of a new environment.
Try a Practice Run
When you know that your dog is ready, reinforce all of their hard work with a practice run that lets you feel confident with longer grooming and boarding sessions. For instance, you could arrange for your dog to spend a few hours at doggie daycare to see how well their training has helped them to become socialized. If your dog does well on the practice run, they are probably ready for longer-term boarding.
The dog experts at The Dog Shop Boarding & Grooming,
love watching as dogs make new friends, so give them a call with any questions that you have about preparing your pet for their upcoming stay.