Before you start socializing a dog that has been neglected or abused, you should have a good understanding of pack leadership and have completed at least a month of basic training lessons. When you feel that you have good control over your dog and that you are respecting your position as leader of the pack, you are ready to move on and reintroduce the dog into society.
Reintroduce a poorly socialized dog into society
Dogs love to play, but what we sometimes don’t understand is that they NEED to play. Any dog that is isolated from canine or human company, that never enjoys a game of toss-it-all or bone-pulling, or that experiences the joy of a playful relationship with its owners, will be an unhappy dog.
This unhappiness will manifest itself in behavior problems. For example, excessive barking or aggression is a sign of boredom and discontent. Therefore, interaction with others is essential.
So you, without even realizing it, are part of a centuries-old wolf pack social structure. In these deceptively ordinary moments, when, for example, you are playing hide-and-seek with your dog, you adjust to your dog’s innate urge to socialize. It is through these games that you and your dog really bond.
If you never intended to introduce your dog to another person or dog, then simply making sure you give your dog plenty of one-on-one playtime every day would be enough to keep him healthy and happy for the rest of his life.
Most people, however, want a companion animal that they can present to family and friends, as well as jogging, the park, or other social settings. However, if the dog is not properly socialized, these types of interactions with the rest of the world may not go as well as the dog owner thought they should.
Bringing a poorly socialized or aggressive dog into society can quickly turn into a nightmare of barking, lunging, growling, and just general misbehavior. It can be aimed at other dogs or it can be aimed at strangers, either way it will eventually turn into such a nightmare that the dog owner doesn’t want to try anymore.
Start socializing and training your dog early and you can avoid the difficult challenge of retraining an aggressive dog later!
Before you start training your dog in a social setting, you need to make sure you are in control of your dog in your own home. Get started on your basic training lessons and be very consistent with them. When you feel like your dog is no longer challenging your leadership, then you can be ready to start working outside the home.
Using your training collar and a good leash, load your dog into the car and head to a park or other place where you know for sure that it is highly unlikely that you will come across dogs that are not on a leash. You absolutely must have control over the situation and you cannot control it if the other dog is not tied up.
Just like you did in basic training, place your dog in the ‘heel’ position and begin walking within sight of the other dogs.
Make sure you are in a calm and controlled state of mind. You want to feel safe and relaxed, fully in control of the situation and radiating your calm confidence to your dog.
Do not allow your dog to be distracted by other dogs or people, the same as if you were walking down the street next to your house.
If his head and tail jerk upward toward another dog or other distraction, correct him immediately and put him back in position. He should be paying attention to you and watching you for signs, not watching other dogs.
If someone tries to walk their dog towards you or tries to pet them, ask them to stay away from them, they are training right now. Most people will understand and respect your wishes.
Walk around the park or area once you go out for the first time, or until the dog walks past other dogs and distractions without looking at you a second time. You want to try and end the training session on a positive note.
Reward him when he reloads him in the car with a special gift that he brought from home, perhaps a favorite snack or toy.
Practice walking in a public place at least ten to twelve more times before moving to the next level. When you can easily walk through the public area and your dog never pulls on the leash, tries to follow another dog or person and appears to be relaxed and comfortable following you, then you are probably ready to move on to the next step.
If you are working for human socialization, start welcoming your family to the park. If it’s a canine socialization, ask them to bring their dog.
You are the leader of the pack, so you must be the one to decide whether the pack will accept a strange human or dog. This means that your dog cannot growl, bark, or act aggressive towards anyone or any other dog.
When you’re ready, put both dogs on a leash and start walking around the park. Start with some distance between the dogs by walking together in the same direction and keeping one of the humans between them at all times.
At first, the two of you will keep looking at each other and trying to cross around the humans to catch up with the other dog. Just keep walking firmly forward and putting him back in position until he remembers his training and starts paying more attention to you than to the other dog.
The reason it helps to have the person as a friend is because the dialogue between the two humans helps the dogs understand that they are both pack leaders with a higher status level than theirs, so they should relax and just be good companions while instructing them. for.
Walk your dogs this way half a dozen times, talking, laughing and making a lot of noise communicating with each other while maintaining a relaxed control over the dogs. They should remain calm and obedient even if you are laughing, crying, or in a loud debate.
Try to end each walk on a good note and make both dogs feel relaxed and happy.
It really helps if you know multiple friends who can alternate walking different dogs with your dog. You don’t want your dog to get used to just one dog, you want him to be relaxed with all dogs.
After you’ve practiced walking together half a dozen times, meet up at the park again, but this time after you’ve walked for a minute or two and the dogs are walking without distractions, stop abruptly and stand close enough that the dogs can smell noses
A well socialized dog will sniff another dog’s nose and then turn to look at his master as if asking why the walk ended so soon. A dog with less social skills will be more focused, trying to sniff the other dog around as if trying to determine by scent and height who will be the boss. A dog with very poor skills will lift its tail, stiffen its legs, and may growl or even bite the other dog.
If the aggressive dog’s tail rises above the level of his spine, jerk him back sharply with a firm “BAH” and continue your walk without reintroducing the dogs that day. If both dogs seem to be maintaining their calm and relaxed demeanor, then it’s okay to stand and talk as they interact for a few minutes, then continue the walk on that good note.
Keep practicing introductions once or twice a day until the aggressive dog realizes that they are not in control of the situation, but you. You don’t want to overwhelm the dog, especially if it’s a larger rescue that has potentially had bad experiences with other dogs. You have to take it easy so you don’t feel pressured.
When you’ve introduced your dog to half a dozen other dogs and responded well to all of them, you can move on to meeting multiple dogs at once and eventually off-leash parks.
Puppies will obviously follow these steps very easily, but it is very important that older dogs that have not been properly socialized take these steps at a pace that will benefit them. In particular, rescue dogs that have spent years chained or locked up without good human or canine interaction.
The important thing is to always stay in control of the situation and be a good pack leader for your dog.