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Socialization With a Dog: Tips for Every Lifestyle



First time dog owners are often left scratching their heads at the laundry list of new terms that every dog owner should know. One such word is socialization, which is the act of introducing a dog to as many new people, animals, objects, and experiences as possible. Proper socialization creates well-adjusted dogs that behave well in a number of situations, and do not display bad behaviors such as fear aggression, resource guarding, or skittishness. However, as important socialization is, finding the time to do so can be difficult. Below are tips for every type of pet parent.

For the beer or wine lover

Most breweries and wineries are dog friendly, and even have special treats for visiting pups. Bringing your dog along for an afternoon of beer or wine tasting allows him to experience new people, unique smells, and perhaps even other dogs. Always be sure to call ahead to make sure dogs are allowed, and be sure to bring plenty of training treats to reinforce your dog’s good behavior.

For the socialite

Inquire with your local breed organization or dog training facility to find out whether dog walking clubs are available in your area. Most cities and towns have weekly meet ups for people wishing to make dog walking a social activity. Not only can you meet new, like-minded people, but your dog can also have experience coexisting with other dogs in a controlled environment. You may even see parts of town you never knew existed!

For the outdoors lover

Are you looking for a socialization activity that involves the great outdoors? Take your dog hiking, camping, kayaking, fishing, or running. While some breeds are better than others at enjoying vigorous activity, all dogs enjoy being outside with their humans. Be sure to always double check whether dogs are allowed at camp grounds or fishing locations. Although most people assume socialization solely involves the introduction of dogs to people and animals, taking your dog into the wild provides great experience with sights and smells not encountered every day at home.

For the competitor

Many activities exist for people wishing to compete with their dogs as a socialization activity. Agility, bikejoring, weight pulling, lure coursing, and obedience are just a few examples of fun activities. Inquire with your local training facility about Agility or obedience competitions, which give a dog an opportunity to meet new friends in a fun atmosphere while showing off their skills. Bikejoring involves a dog pulling his owner on a bicycle, and helps the dog become confident in a number of unique situations. Weight pulling tests a dog’s ability to pull heavy weights over a predefined distance, and lure coursing tests the dog’s skill at chasing a decoy rabbit. Each of these activities helps a dog adjust to new experiences, people, and other dogs while providing a fun component for the pet-parent.

For the person with a long to-do list

If you have errands to run that include going to the bank, pet store, hardware store, or even the local Menards, Bed, Bath and Beyond, or Crate & Barrel, consider bringing your dog along! As always, be sure to call ahead, but most of the aforementioned businesses allow well-behaved, leashed dogs. Not only will your dog enjoy spending time with his favorite person, but will also gain great social skills when countless people say hi to your pup.

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