Often times, our dogs can be slow to warm up to other pups and people. The ideal age to introduce your dogs to other people and puets is between 3 and 12 weeks- but what if you miss that window? Whether you adopted them after they lived in a less-secure home or you’re starting to notice some behavioral challenges, here are some steps to socialize an adult dog!
Play it Cool & Ignore Awkward Moments
At home, if your dog bolts or gets anxious, let it slide. By showing your dog their shyness isn’t a big deal, they’ll start to feel more at home and be less prone to nerves.
Meet Your Neighbors on Daily Walks
If you have lots of four-legged neighbors, let your pup strut their stuff! Regular walks ware a quick way to expose them to the outside world. Even though it may be your first impulse, don't tug your dog back at the first sign of an approaching pooch. When you restrain your dog as another comes into view, you'll condition them to see any new furry face as a threat.
Take it Slow at the Dog Park
For a skittish pup and their owner, a trip to the dog park may elicit night sweats. Have no fear, just take it slow! To start, just bring your dog to the outside of the park fence and show them the other dogs playing.
If a dog approaches the fence, give your pup a treat so that they know it’s a positive experience instead of a threat. A larger off-leash dog park, like the one at Mount Tabor here in Portland, allows your dog space to run and explore instead of being forced to play well with others.
Always be on hand to put the leash back on and pull your pup away should anyone start getting snippy.
Reach out to Friends with Friendly Pups… Slowly
Try to introduce a new dog to one human friend a week. If you feel like you’ve made a lot of progress in socializing your dog, take it to the next level by meeting up with a friend & their pup for a doggy play date! Make sure there’s ample treats & toys so you don’t end up with a furry argument!
Comment below to share how your pup went from nervous nellie to cool cucumber!