Socialising builds confidence

From learning how to get along with humans and other animals, to becoming comfortable in diverse environments, and even adapting to new situations without fear or aggression, it is all based on the direct experience your pet will have with you to guide her. Well socialised dogs are confident, secure, and generally less stressed, which gives them a healthier life.
Is your dog social?
Isn’t my puppy too young or too old to socialise? My dog already has issues with other dogs/people, so is there any point in trying. My dog’s breed traditionally doesn’t gel with other breeds.

These are some common excuses we have heard from pet parents. What they must understand is that every dog has the possibility (and opportunity) to live a social life. There are always exceptions that can be determined with the guidance of a canine behavioural consultant. Coming back to the point, no pet is too young or too old to socialise. Some dog trainers recommend puppy socialisation even for pups as young as three weeks. At this stage, it is limited to people and things sharing the same living space. Post immunisation, necessary shots and a go-ahead from your vet, three-to-four-month-old puppies can have the world as their playground.

Similarly, with older dogs, all you need is patience and correct guidance – the rest will follow. If your dog had problems socialising in the past, it could be that the situation was not correctly introduced and the exposure was too sudden or connected with a negative experience. Or simply, your pet may not have been well at that time. You should always take professional help because socialisation is a lifelong process and does not end with your pet’s training classes.

Safe practices
Exposure to all new experiences should be positive and stress free. Following the below pointers:

-Respect your pets’ feelings and space. Let them approach new things on their own and take time to investigate. Don’t force or push them if they are reluctant.

- Understand what your pet is saying to you. Dogs communicate through body language and you can learn to read it over time.

- A common practice followed by professionals during training is to set your pet up for success. Ensure all new experiences are positive, followed by positive reinforcement in the form of treats or toys. Avoid situations, people and environments that might result in a less-than-happy experience for your new pet.

- Lastly, just have fun. Your positive attitude is important for your pet.

A special note
As much as it is important for your dog to socialise, it is equally important for us as pet parents to be socially responsible. We must train our dogs with the help of experienced professionals. And we must pick up after our dogs, be it indoor or outdoor, if we want our country to be a pet-friendly one. Socially responsible pet parents along with well socialised dogs can open up many avenues and opportunities for our furry favourites.
(The writers are co-founders of a pet cafe in Mumbai);

Readers’ corner
Charlie and Busty are naughty boys
My two best friends

dog n us

They are my best buddies at home, with whom I play on the road. They are cute, smart and naughty, but in my basement they do potty. One is black and one is white, and their favourite game is to fight. They miss me when I go to school, and for biscuits they always drool. I love you my cute puppies, and I call you Charlie and Busty.
—Vismay Hegde

Socialisation is a lifelong process and does not end with your pet’s training classes

Are you a proud pet parent? Whatever is your creature companion, we are here to listen to you. Send your photos and stories to [email protected]

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