9 Helpful Tips for Dog Socialization in Bowling Green, KY

Dog food? Check. Toys? Check. Dog bed? Check. Socialization? Uhhh… Stumped on what to do for socializing your puppy or even a full-grown dog? No worries! Here are 9 ways to socialize a dog or puppy in Bowling Green, KY.

dog socialization in Bowling Green, KY

Socialization from an early age is very important (experts recommend you start socialization between eight to sixteen weeks, right when you get your puppy or as soon as you can). Positive experiences, even with “scary” things such as meeting someone for the first time, results in a puppy learning to be a “good dog.” Not socializing a dog, no matter the age, can result in behavioral issues or a dog that’s scared of everything…and yes, you can teach an old dog new tricks.

1. Be Mindful of Other Dogs Your Dog Plays With

The first tip is actually a don’t, surprisingly: don’t introduce your dog to just any dog you and he/she meet. This is because dogs can learn a lot of unwanted behavior from one another and you don’t want that, especially if you recently acquired a dog through a rescue or another means that sells or adopts out non-puppies (they might’ve already picked up a few bad habits from the shelter, rescue, etc).

If you wouldn’t introduce your child or a child who you’re responsible for long term to a child whose parents/guardians let them basically get away with anything, don’t do it to your dog!

2. Try to Keep Excitement Contained

A second “don’t” is don’t let your dog get overly excited. This can lead to jumping around, putting their mouths on other dogs or people (even if you’re okay with this, some people aren’t), and becoming aggressive.

While this may seem harder for certain breeds such as Huskies and other high-strung dogs, it’s important to keep it as tamed as possible. This doesn’t mean to discourage happy and playful behavior, just trying to contain it and let them know when it’s time to settle down.

3. Introduce Your Dog to Many People

The third tip is back to the “do’s” list: do introduce your dog to lots of people that you’re comfortable with. Introduce him/her to men, women, and others with a variety of voices.

This will help your dog become used to low voices, high voices, and different dialects (just don’t overwhelm your puppy or new dog and introduce everyone all at once; take it slow).

You may also want to introduce your dog to mobility device users to get them accustomed to a cane or wheelchair, kids (supervise both child/children and dog), and adults. You should also introduce your puppy to new textures, such as tile, carpet, wood floors, different dog toys, etc.

4. Socialize Your Dog at the Pet Store

Another place you can bring a new dog is the pet store. Again, you should take this slowly, especially for new older dogs. Begin by taking your dog during a time when it’s not busy. Try for early in the day or later in the evenings, if you can.

5. Dog Parks and Socialization in Bowling Green, KY

A fifth tip for socialization is to bring your dog to your local dog parks in Bowling Green, KY. With puppies, you’ll need to do this about a week after they’ve had their vaccinations and with older dogs, you’ll need to slowly integrate them into a dog park by elongating the time you’re there slightly until you reach the time you are comfortable with.

6. There Are Always Training Classes

You can also bring your puppy to puppy classes at your local boarding facility or pet store. These classes have the advantage of having someone who’s skilled at handling dogs and will also teach you how to train your dog.

7. Play Dates with Other Dogs in Bowling Green, KY

A seventh tip is to schedule play dates with other dog owners. This is helpful not only to socialize your puppy, but also because you can socialize with a friend or family member.

You can also find a drop-in dog sitter or dog walker on Rover.com or another app.

8. There Are Dog Socialization Tests/Programs

If you’re interested, you can earn your S.T.A.R. (socialization, training, activity, and responsible owner) puppy title. This is an AKC-registered test by an evaluator to see if your puppy can tolerate someone petting them, can handle you holding them, can handle a collar and harness being put on, etc. Also, you will pledge to be a good owner for the duration of your dog’s life. Both mixed breeds and purebred puppies under a year old can be tested for this.

If, however, you’ve acquired a dog who’s no longer a puppy, you can enroll them for the AKC Canine Good Citizen test. This is for dogs who have received little training in the past and can also be for puppies who have passed the S.T.A.R. testing, who’s owners want to train at the next level.

9. Dog Socialization and Quarantine in Bowling Green

Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, people may be hard-pressed to follow some of these tips, since they’ve had to be socially distant (although, of course, socializing with people you know are healthy is still okay). You may be under the impression that “socialization” must mean play time for your pooch, but this isn’t necessarily the case.

One tip for socialization that won’t involve too many people together are steps such as taking your dog around the house. Between the sound of the hairdryer, the washer and dryer, ringtones on your phone, and more, there are many sounds just around your home. There are even recordings of thunder and other dogs barking you can download for your new puppy to hear!

You can also take a walk around your neighborhood and introduce your new puppy to the neighbors (who want to say hello to your puppy, of course). Bonus points if they have a dog, too!

A third thing to do to socialize your puppy or dog while in quarantine is let him/her look out the window and look at the people passing by. Act excited and happy to see the people, so your puppy can associate the person/people with a positive experience. Also, driving in your car with the window down is a good time to socialize your puppy.

Socializing Your Dog in Bowling Green, KY Doesn’t Have to Be Hard

Whether you socialize your dog during this pandemic or not and no matter what your dog’s age, it’s important to take things slow and keep in mind (or learn) your dog’s body language.

Learning a dog’s body language can let you know when your pup is becoming nervous, anxious, or afraid. Remember, the key is to make it a positive experience for everyone! Happy socializing!

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