As the saying goes, a dog is a man’s best friend. Just as we expect our human friends to be respectful and well-behaved when out in public with us, dogs should be trained to act the same. How can a dog owner accomplish this? Through the process of socialization.
What Is Socialization?
From a young age, it is important for our pups to become social animals. This differs from the basic training principles of sit, lay down, roll over and come. Socialization is defined as the process of learning to behave in an acceptable way, whereas training involves teaching a very specific set of skills.
Not only does socialization make our dogs better pets, but this process can help prevent dog bites. Unfortunately, there is no way to be 100 percent sure that your dog will never bite, but as owners, we can follow these steps to greatly reduce the risk.
1. Introduce Your Dog to New People
Some dogs become more protective of you around unfamiliar people. Whether that is the cliched mailman or a rambunctious child, these displays of aggression should be avoided. One way to help your dog is to introduce him to different people of all genders, races and appearances. It is also important to set an expectation with these new people to proceed with caution when attempting to pet or play with your dog.
2. Bring Your Dog Around Other Dogs
Have you seen dogs who bark and jump at the sight of another dog? When a dog has been socialized to interact with other animals, they often display much calmer behavior. There are several ways to introduce your dogs to others, including:
- Trips to the dog park
- Doggy play groups
- Play dates with friends
At first, it might be difficult for your dog to adjust around other pets, but you can help ease his fear. If another dog begins barking and yours starts to get agitated, avoid jerking him back on the leash and calmly steer him in a different direction.
3. Take Your Dog for Daily Walks
A dog who rarely sees the outdoors often builds more aggression than one who is able to get fresh air and regular exercise. That is why it is so important to take your dog for daily walks. It’s also recommended that you change up the route, so your dog can experience new scenery, smells and sounds. When a dog follows the same path every day, he is not prepared to see something different, such as another owner walking her dog, and may not know how to react appropriately.
4. Be a Responsible Dog Owner
Finally, some of the onus falls on the dog owner to pay attention to his dog’s behavior. If you only use command on occasion and forget to take your dog for daily walks, he will likely not learn what acceptable behavior is. Especially around children, who are the most common dog bite victims, it’s critical to pay attention to your dog’s body language and gently coax the child back if he starts to become agitated.
If you’ve been the victim of a dog bite, we want to help you hold the negligent party responsible. Contact our team today to pursue your claim.