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Dogs that are not domesticated, engage in socialization from a young age, simply because dogs move around in packs. If your dog shows signs of shyness, aggression or fear in social situations, then chances are that he has not socialized. Socialization is key to the development and well-being of your pet, and here are some ways you can help him pick up his social skills.
Raising your pet to be friendly
The earliest interactions that your pet has are with the littermates and mother. These interactions are extremely crucial for the development of your pup, without it his social skills will not be the same when he grows up. This is exactly why you should not take your pup away from the mother and litter until he completes the first eight weeks.
How you raise your pup once you bring him in to your house, place an equally important role in shaping the social skills. It is always a good idea to expose your pet to different people, and dogs from a young age. This way, your pet will learn to socialize with canines and humans from the puppy-hood stage. Of course, if your puppy has any behavioral issues, you want to tackle it the earliest, take an obedience class if needed. Once your puppy is trained, it becomes easier to have him make friends with the neighbors or the mailman.
Socialization opportunities for your pet
There are many places where you can find socialization opportunities for your dog. A dog park is a common place where pets can interact with other pets in a monitored safe environment. If your dog gets along well with any of the other pets, then you can talk to the pet parent and arrange a play-date for the pets in the future. Obedience training classes are also a good place for pets to bond. You get to discuss and compare the progress and challenges of your pets with other pet parents at these training sessions.
An animal rescue shelter, can give your pet a chance to socialize with other pets and animal lovers. Of course, you want to talk to the staff at the animal shelter beforehand to understand if there are pets which have behavioral problems, and not suited for socialization at present. Some pet owners even take their dogs when they are going to pet stores, so they can meet other pet owners. Of course, a pet store is not one of the first places where you want to look if you want to help your pet socialize, as most people are there to pick up pet supplies and move out, rather than stick around and have a conversation.