Socialising your Best Friend.Probono
You’re a social creature, so why shouldn’t your best friend be one too?
South African’s are inherently lovers of sunshine, the outdoors, braai-vleis and buddies. We love to spend time in our social circles, so isn’t it only natural that our fur friends would enjoy that too?
Making sure that your dog is socialised from a young age means that you can take them along with you wherever you go. A well-socialised dog has a much better quality of life as they can go to many places, including coffee shops, braai’s, off-leash parks and even on family holidays, without causing trouble to you, other people, other dogs and especially themselves.
But what does doggie socialising really mean and how can you do it properly so that your fur buddy never has to be left at home?
You mean that dogs aren’t naturally social?
No, they’re not! We often have drams of walking through the park with our fur friends, stopping to shoot the breeze along the way with mates who in turn have their own perfectly behaved pups… but alas, socialising is way less glamorous than this.
If you’ve ever socialised a pup or dog you will know that it takes a huge amount of perseverance and dedication to get your pet to the perfectly sociable place where they are comfortable around new people and other dogs. The process takes an extraordinary amount of patience, encouragement, and a whole lotta bottom sniffing.
Socialising begins at home – Not at the dog park…
It may be hugely tempting to take Fido straight put to the park, but its always best to start the process somewhere that you can have full control. Most puppies permanently imprint their experiences in the first 8-12 weeks, so you need to make sure that this crucial time in their development is a positive experience. Create a safe and neutral space where they aren’t going to get any big frights that could have lifelong negative consequences.
Start by organising simple play dates with friends who also have doggies, especially if they’re the same sort of size as yours. This way, your dog can make woof-a-licious friends with companions on their same level. Once the friendships are sorted then its time to hit the green grass for some socialising in action!
Im-paw-tant tips to remember
Health – Make sure your dog is up-to-date on all of their vaccines. Remember that if your pet has recently been sick, then it’s a no-go on social time. And vice versa – sick doggies are simply not safe for your dog to be around, so avoid any sick pups along the way.
Places – Being a social butterfly can be overwhelming! Choose a pace that does not have massive amounts of overstimulating and scary activities, sounds and smells. Avoid areas such as concerts and markets in the beginning, and especially places that are buzzing with people and activity. Short, simple walks are a great way to start, and you can make them longer and longer as you go.
The big day will son come when he can come off the lead and prove to you what a good boy he really is!
So, your dog is making friends – its time to take this bark to the park
Don’t avoid dog parks all together in the process but dropping your dog in the proverbial deep end could cause him to sink rather than swim!
Take things slow after all these are skills that your dog is learning for life. Pushing your pup too hard could send him in a spin and undo all your hard work. Try and remember how overwhelmed you felt at your first big disco 😊. Keep it chilled with a lazy Sunday afternoon in the park to start off with.
Hurray for wagging tails and happy trails.
All your hard work will pay off when you take him off the lead and really get to enjoy the experience of a fully socialised dog.
If you put in the time and effort, your fur friend should develop the skills and experiences necessary to ensure that sunny days with friends are also fun days for every-paw-dy involved.