5 Easy Tips to Socialize Your Older Dog Today
If you’re adopting an older dog for the first time or noticed that your dog has some behavioral issues, remember that it’s never too late to begin socializing them.
Although it’s recommended to socialize puppies during the first year of their life, some owners miss this period or don’t understand its importance.
However, we’re here to make the process straightforward–you need a plan that’s executed consistently.
Keep reading to learn five simple ways to socialize your older dog today!
All dogs should be getting at least one walk a day, but older dogs that aren’t socialized need them especially. This is because walking will naturally expose your dog to different sights, smells, sounds, and textures.
As you keep walking your dog consistently, they’ll become more resilient at encountering new situations and not reacting. If you notice them reacting, remove them from whatever is disturbing them without praising or admonishing them.
Animals are talented at picking up on the moods and demeanor of humans–especially their humans! With this in mind, work on setting an excellent example for your dog by staying calm and neutral.
Although you may feel tempted to try and comfort your dog with pets and praise if they’re uncomfortable, your dog will begin to make the wrong associations.
Instead, not reacting teaches your dog that the situation they’re anxious about is no big deal.
Invite People to Your Home
Start inviting more people to your space once your dog appears more confident during your daily walks to different locations. The best way to do this is to ask your guests not to approach the dog or talk to them in any way.
Instead, allow your dog to make first contact when they feel ready. Keep things relaxed, laid-back, and relatively quiet. If your dog needs some encouragement, feel free to toss treats.
Recognize Stress Signals
Keep in mind that as you begin introducing your dog to new environments, people, and objects, they may have subtle ways of showing their distress. Here are a few signs you should watch out for:
- Yawning even though they’re not tired
- Showing the whites of their eyes
- Dilated pupils
- Licking lips
- Excessive panting
- Ears pinned back
- Pacing around
When you notice these subtle signs, make sure that you back off from the new environment, object, person, or animal. The trick is to remain slow but consistent with their socialization–not overwhelm them all at once!
Introducing your dog to a calm older dog can do wonders if they’re not around animals often. You can do this by starting off walking with the owner and the new dog with plenty of space in between them.
After the walk, you can allow the dogs to come up to each other to sniff if they don’t seem stressed. They can even play with each other in a yard or fenced park if they seem happy and comfortable.
It’s important that you find a well-behaved dog, as, over time, your dog may be able to learn by their fine example.
Afterward, make sure to reward your dog with a treat.
Improve Quality of Life: Socialize Your Older Dog
You’ll know that it’s time to focus on socialization for your older dog if they seem nervous on walks and unwilling to approach new animals and people. Conversely, they may seem overly aggressive or excited around people and animals.
By taking the time to socialize your older dog, you’re helping your dog live their life in a far more comfortable way. After proper socialization, they won’t feel as stressed, anxious, or afraid.
Socialization also starts in the vet office. Schedule an appointment with us today for more tips and your dog’s wellness visit!