Socialize Your Dog.

Posted on
Let Him Be A Part Of The Action.

Socialize your dog from day one — this is very important, not only for his mental health, but also for the overall health and strength of your family as a whole. To exile your dog to the back yard, or to a crate locked away in another room when company comes to visit, or to never take your dog with you when you go out is to rob him of the joy of belonging. It also creates a neurotic personality with bad habits you’re not going to like. He’s part of the family — let’s learn how to treat him like it. 

Socializing Is Easy, And It’s Not Too Late To Start.

Even if your dog is already anti-social. Example: When the doorbell rings, have your dog walk to the door WITH you. Don’t shoo him back or into another room — this tells him the new person must be bringing trouble and that will put Fido on alert. If you’re concerned he may bolt out the door or jump up on the visitor, then put him on a short lead and keep him close at your side. Don’t cinch up on the lead, keep it relaxed. A tight lead tells your dog you’re nervous — you don’t want that. But still have him answer the door with you. Let him greet your visitor.

If you think he may nip, then ask the visitor not to pet him until after he’s sniffed them and is comfortable with their presence. If he’s over-excited and pushes his way ahead of you to the door, use your body to block him. Even tho he’s answering the door with you, he needs to remember that you’re the boss and you go first. SUGGESTION: Keep this gentle leader handy for answering the door. It will allow you to manage Fido easily and effectively without the chaos of him pulling and dragging you and acting out. Click on the ad to view and purchase.

If your dog is mistrustful of new people, then ask your visitor not to “get in his face.” In dog language, that’s a threat or challenge, and you’ve just invited trouble. Put Fido on a short lead. Tell the new person to ignore him – don’t kneel down to him, don’t look at him, don’t talk to him. Act like Fido’s not even there. Chat with your visitor and keep their focus on you, keeping Fido at your side on a relaxed lead. Always remember — your body language tells Fido what he needs to know — is this person okay or not okay? Staying relaxed and ignoring Fido tells him there’s no threat and gives him a neutral space to size up the new person. Once he’s finished sniffing and “okay’d” the new person, he’ll generally sit or turn away. That’s the new person’s sign that they can now greet him by extending the back of their hand for him to sniff and then pet him.

Please Please Please Take Me With You!?
Socializing By Shopping Is A Safety Activity?

I live on the foothills of a mountain outside of Phoenix. We have all kinds of wildlife; mountain lions, coyotes, hawks, owls, vultures, bobcat, rattlesnakes, … We see them every day in the neighborhood searching for food. So taking my dogs outside for a leisurely walk, or letting my cat out to lounge on the back patio can be really dangerous and ill-advised. Instead, I take my dogs with me to Lowes, or Home Depot, etc., any pet-friendly shopping place, and we walk the aisles. Even if I have nothing to buy. It’s a safe environment for my dogs and me, temperature-controlled to boot, and it’s a great way to socialize. It gives your dog all kinds of new scents to enjoy – remember, a dog’s strongest sense is his sniffer.

People don’t always expect to see pets in Lowes or Home Depot, so when they come around the corner into our aisle, they happily come pet my dogs and give them love and chat with us awhile. It’s a very relaxed, positive interaction, and my dogs totally soak up the attention! You’re effectively teaching your dog that interacting with people is a good thing. Perfect way to socialize.

Going to Petsmart or PetCo or any other pet store is super ideal, too, because your dog gets to interact with other dogs as you walk the aisles. Remember, dogs are hard-wired to mix and mingle. It’s in their DNA. All dogs are required to be on leads when they visit pet stores, so that’s an added safety feature. And, on top of the socializing, your little guy gets to do some shopping of his own and enjoy all the fabulous smells of a pet store. Talk about a great day!  🙂

By the way, if your dog is a puller and you kind of dread taking him out in public because of that, consider either of the following gentle leaders. They’ll turn your life around – believe it. You’ll be happily taking Fido out all the time and even getting compliments from people about how well behaved he is. Seriously. Click on either of these to view and purchase and get started on your happy outings together.


Dog Park – The Ultimate Socialization.

And let’s not forget about dog parks. What an awesome day for a dog, to be able to run and play and socialize with other dogs, burn off energy, and make new friends. Be very sure your dog is current on vaccinations AND bordatella. Bordatella will help protect him against respiratory ailments that other dogs in the park may be carrying.  NOTE: don’t forget your poop bags! Here’s a proven favorite – click to view and purchase.

If your dog is a little older and can’t keep up or wears out quickly, consider a backpack or stroller for him so he can still be included in your outing in a safe and comfortable way.  For my senior dogs, I have this fabulous little Pet Gear stroller. It’s been a lifesaver for sure. I can actually fit 4 tiny dogs (under 8lbs), 3 small dogs (under 12lbs), or 1 medium dog (under 20lbs).  See us here on one of our lovely walks?  Tell me those little ones don’t look happy! There’s a great little storage bin underneath where you can store the dogs’ food and water dishes, pee pads, leads, treats, blankets, or whatever you might be shopping for! This stroller is the BEST! And the dogs can go ALL day in this stroller or backpack very comfortably. So plan your picnic, or shopping, or whatever, and don’t worry about cutting your day short because of a worn-out pooch. 🙂


You’ll also need a collapsible water dish to take along. Never leave home without the water dish! 


** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** **

God Bless and Happy Pet Parenting!

With love and good wishes,
jeannie.   ?

About jeannie:  I’ve been pro-actively involved in pet rescue all of my life. I founded Milagro Senior Pet Refuge© (Phoenix) in 1998, and BareFootPets (TM) in 2008.  Animal welfare has always been and will always be my heart’s work. If my only legacy is that I save a handful of precious souls that would not survive otherwise, I’m good with that.