Why Should I Exercise & Socialize My Dog?
Like humans, dogs are social creatures. They thrive on being around their owners and other dogs. However, dogs have to be taught how to behave properly from a young age. Everyone knows someone with a dog who isn’t well behaved. Whether the dog won’t let you in the door or will bark at friendly visitors, these behaviors indicate dogs that haven’t been trained properly.
Since socialization comes so naturally to people, many owners don’t understand how dogs need to be trained. People can easily understand that skin color or gender differences don’t make us different species. Untrained dogs don’t know these nuances. That’s why it’s important to teach them from a very young age how to be around different people.
Different Avenues of Socialization
There are multiple things to teach your young dog to get them to be comfortable and social. You have to expose them to various situations and people, as well as other animals. While this can be difficult to fit into a busy lifestyle, it’s possible to incorporate your pets in other activities like exercising or socializing.
When raising a young dog, it is important to expose them to things such as:
- People of different genders and races
- Children of various ages
- Cats and other small pets
- Other dogs
- Human behaviors and circumstances
Neglecting one or more of these areas can make your dog trusting and social in certain situations and completely misbehaved in others. For example, if you’ve trained your dog to accept all types of people but have never trained them how to behave around other dogs, then they will be skittish and behave inappropriately around other people’s pets. This is why it is so important to keep dogs active and to keep them around other dogs and people to keep them used to the variety of people and experiences in the world.
Another example that dog owners need to be very careful about is children. Dogs do not understand that children or babies are small, unprotected creatures who don’t know how to behave around dogs. They perceive babies or kids to be like humans and expect them to know how to behave around them. Teaching your pet that a child should be dealt with differently than a grown human can help them make the distinction between kids and adults.
Don’t Stop at Puppy Socialization and Exercise Training
It is true that the most important period of a dog’s psychological growth is when they’re young, just a few months old. This is when they can develop the strongest associations and behaviors, whether they’re bad or good. However, this does not mean that socialization or training should stop as they get older. Just like human adolescents change and become different people, dogs can change as well.
A puppy that could have been getting along with you and others very well can change and become a nervous, distrusting dog as an adolescent. It is critical to provide the right reinforcement at this juncture and keep them active and around other dogs. These ideas should not stop as your puppy grows.
Participating in play groups or doggie day care environments can help you keep your pet active while you’re busy and provide them the training and entertainment they need. This is true for dogs of any age. While their behaviors may change slightly, puppies, teens, and adult dogs all need friends and socialization, not to mention the benefits of physical exercise.
If you’re interested in putting your dog into a class or a day care to help them get used to others and keep fit, contact us today at Riverside Animal Care.