Training a pet is a daunting, often exhausting task to take on. There are many factors an owner must take into consideration when deciding to become a pet parent full-time, and the main buzzword they will often hear is socialisation. If you want your pet to react to everyday situations in a calm and reasonable manner, socialisation is key. What this key word is referring to (most often in terms of training a dog) is the act of slowly and carefully introducing your pet to new situations in order to teach them how to react in a positive manner. This process takes a lot of time and must be implemented while the animal is still young enough to take on a lot of new information at once.
When performed correctly, socialisation can prevent your pet from responding to new situations, environments and people with nervousness, negativity or aggression. Instead, your pet will feel comfortable in unusual situations, and you will be able to navigate the scenario together as a team, instead of feeling that you have lost control of your pet. Socialised dogs get to join their human family on outings without the worry of mischief, meaning they experience more sensory stimulants and get more exercise in general, which is beneficial for their overall health. They will react in a calm manner during grooming sessions and vet examinations and will approach their daily routine with less anxiety, improving their overall quality of life. This makes the challenge of being a pet parent much less stressful, strengthening the bond you are able to build with your pet. So, here are some top tips for ensuring your pet receives socialisation that will help them shine at their best.
Setting up a Social Routine
It is important that your pet becomes used to meeting a wide variety of people right from the get-go. As soon as your pet is able to venture outside safely, it is recommended that they have regular playdates with friends, family, and other pets. With your supervision, your pet can interact with other animals and people at their own speed, and learn the dos and don’ts of social time. It is also important that your pet encounters strangers and learns how to behave towards people they are not familiar with. This will improve the experience of taking them on walks, if that is expected of the type of pet, and will also reduce the risk of your pet reacting aggressively when they meet a stranger without your supervision.
While this step is very important for the social development of your pet’s personality, owners must avoid overstimulating their pet in these scenarios. Owners must learn to recognise signs of discomfort in their furry friends, so they can react accordingly. If your pet’s behaviour changes quickly and they appear fearful, annoyed or unhappy, they must be returned to their comfort zone until they are ready to rejoin the activity. Forcing an irritated pet to socialise when they don’t want to can make them associate social gatherings with a feeling of discomfort, making them react unpredictably. It is difficult to stop an animal from doing this once the habit is formed, so pay close attention to your pet during social time!
Let Them Get Involved
Humans live busy lives, and each pet owner has a different daily routine. It is important that your pet becomes accustomed to the sights, sounds and smells of your routine, so they know what to expect and don’t react unfavourably out of shock. For example, if you use a lot of power tools around the home or work with your hands via a garage or office space, your pet needs to get used to hearing the sounds of your tools and equipment. This reduces shock when they hear the sound at a later stage, meaning they can be comfortable with what goes on in the home you both share.
If you drive regularly, take your pet with you as soon and as often as you can. This will prevent them from developing a fear of travelling in vehicles, so you can both enjoy the ride without fear of barking, distraction, or making a mess. Your pet will know how to respond to other cars they encounter as well, reducing their anxiety during walks or time outside.
If you have any further questions concerning the socialisation of a pet, you can contact our Animal Tracks Vet Clinic in Sydney and receive an in-depth consultation, so you can enter the world of pet parenthood with confidence. Your pet will appreciate the work you have put into learning about socialisation, and the rewards will be priceless.