This post is sponsored by Virbac® Sentinel® Spectrum® and the BlogPaws® Pet Influencer Network™. I am being compensated to help create awareness about protection against common parasites found in dogs but we only share information we feel is relevant to our readers. More information about Sentinel Spectrum. Virbac is not responsible for the content of this article.
Socializing a new puppy or dog should be high on your priority list when obtaining a new pet, right along with vaccinations, routine veterinary care, and heartworm prevention. Unfortunately puppy socialization isn’t highly prioritized by many first time pet owners, which can lead to serious behavior problems later. Did you ever stop think how your pet my react if there was an emergency at your home? How would your pet react if someone had to retrieve them from your home or care for them while you were unable to? Most pets would be understandably upset, but would your pet overreact? We live in a rural community with little access to group obedience classes, fortunately I’ve obedience trained more than one dog. You don’t necessarily need a formal group obedience class, but they can be a great asset when socializing a new pet. Maybe you already realize the importance of proper socialization, but you’re not sure where or how to begin? Today I’m sharing my best tips for how to socialize your dog, that could make living with them much easier and more enjoyable.
Before you take your pet anywhere, you need to make you that they have had a check up from your veterinarian, received all the proper vaccinations, and are on a heartworm preventative. Heartworms can be life threatening, and your dog can be exposed any time they’re around mosquitos. I use and recommend Virbac® Sentinel® Spectrum® for year-round protection against fleas, heartworms, tapeworms, roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms. I give it once a month, and use their friendly reminder system to make sure I give it on time. If your dog isn’t currently on a preventative, your vet will want to do a simple blood test to check for heartworms or as part of their annual screening. It only takes one bite from a mosquito to expose your dog to heartworms. Dogs don’t start showing signs until 6-7 months of being infected, and the heartworms are already reproducing and possibly causing serious damage. Furthermore, if your dog has been scooting more than usual, it might be helpful to do some research into ways to stop dogs scooting. There are lots of possible reasons why your dog could be dragging his or her bottom on the floor, so it is important to get to the route of the issue.
Once your dog or puppy has all their necessary vaccinations, and they’re current on parasite prevention you’re ready to start the socialization process. You’ll want to make sure your dog can walk comfortably on a leash outside and has some basic manners. We’ve been working on teaching our Kitty dog to sit when she meets new people, which helps to avoid her desire to jump. She’s just still a puppy, but she could hurt someone easily by jumping.
Can your dog or puppy navigate stairs? You would be surprised at how many dogs can’t. We often assume that they would know or be unafraid. Kitty was just over 6 months old when she came to live with us, and her breeder had no stairs in her home. Kitty had no idea what stairs were or how to safely walk up and down them. It was a slow process to build her confidence so that she could climb and descend them. You just have to work on building confidence one “step” at a time.
The most important rule to socialization is don’t overwhelm your pet. If your dog hasn’t been around a lot of people, don’t expect them to walk comfortably around in a crowd. Dogs have different personalities just like humans, you never know what might overly excite or scare your pet. Our dog Kitty is terrified of the garbage truck, she thinks it’s a monster that will eat her whole. She isn’t afraid of much, but that’s her vice. In contrast, she comfortably walks with us to the school bus stop and helps to put Gabe on the bus. Don’t wait until they’re completely overwhelmed regardless of the situation, to try to remove them. Dogs and puppies can easily bite out of fear.
You should watch for signs of fear such as:
- Excessive panting
- Tail tucked between their legs
Don’t ever try to force your dog or pet through a situation to overcome a fear. It can make the fear worse, someone could become injured, or you could lose control of your pet and they could run away.
Use positive reinforcement such as praise, toys, or treats to encourage good behaviors.
We routinely take Kitty with us to Gabe’s soccer matches and baseball games, both parks allow leashed, well behaved dogs. You want to check with local park regulations to find out if dogs are permitted. Parks are a great way to exercise with your pet while socializing them. They can experience different sights, sounds, and smells while visiting a park.
Don’t ever be afraid to speak up if someone touches your pet without asking, and you can do it without being confrontational. Children should always be taught to ask permission before petting a dog that they are unfamiliar with. Dogs who are easily startled could snap or bite out of fear.
You also don’t want your pet to associate all car rides with trips to the veterinarian or groomer, which can be scary experiences. Kitty often just rides to Gabe’s school for pick up, so she is confident riding comfortably in a car.
Never leave your pet unattended in a car or other vehicle. Pets can die or become seriously ill due to heatstroke, which can happen much more quickly than you might realize.
There are lots of places that you can socialize your pet check with local home improvement stores, retailers, stores, businesses, and occasionally even restaurants that allow a well behaved dog. There are lists available online to search for locations near you, but it’s always best to call and ask for the individual store policy regarding pets.
- Routine check up by your veterinarian
- Up to date on vaccinations
- Administering a monthly parasite and flea preventative for year round prevention. (Gross fact: Did you know that the fleas you see are only a small portion of what’s actually there? Fleas can survive in a home without a host for up to a year. Egg production begins in female fleas in less than 24 hours after eating their first blood meal, and they can produce up to 40-50 eggs per day. Adult fleas have a lifespan of 2-3 months. Can you imagine how quickly they would infest a home or pet? Flea protection is always important.) Check out Sentinel Spectrum beef flavored chews which works as a multi-purpose parasiticide and you follow this link for a rebate offer from the manufacturer.
- Calling local parks and business regarding ordinances or rules before taking your pet.
- Create a dog supply bag with water, water bowl, toys and treats to help make your pet comfortable.
- Relax and try to enjoy your dog. If you’re fearful or overwhelmed, it can cause your dog to be fearful or overwhelmed too.
I hope you can use some of these tips and principles when socializing your dog or puppy. If you have any comments, suggestions, or if you feel like I left anything out, please feel free to leave a comment below or email me. If you have a minute, please take a few moments to fill out this survey about dog ownership and your knowledge of fleas and parasites.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Virbac® Sentinel® Spectrum®. The opinions and text are all mine.