Socializing Your Rescued Dog
Dogs, like humans, are social creatures, so interacting with other animals will help keep your pet’s mind active and their demeanor gentle. Socialization is one of the most important aspects of raising a healthy, happy dog. This time can also be used to help strengthen relationships with other people, for both the pet and the owner. Even if you have an older dog, there are groups who are committed to helping you get him socialized. It’s just a matter of locating the right people!
Here are a few easy, inexpensive and very effective ways that you can begin the process of socializing your dogs.
Yappy Hours are wine-tasting events or dinners that occur at pet-friendly venues on a weekly basis. These are great ways to meet up with friends, introduce your dogs to some new pack members, and enjoy a glass of wine. Keep an eye out for these events at pet-friendly hotels (such as Kimpton Resorts) or at pet-friendly restaurants. You may be surprised where you find these fun events!
Organizing some daycare time with neighbors can be a great way to socialize pets. This process works well with like-minded, responsible pet parents who have the luxury of a flexible work schedule or are able to telecommute a few days a week. Talk to your friends and neighbors about ways you can make this type of arrangement work. It’s a great way to keep pets from getting bored while you’re at work, and it may be an extra way for friends to earn a few dollars while they are home during the day.
Puppies require a great deal of attention and it’s important to socialize them early. Enrolling your pet in puppy school will set the groundwork to ease your pet into expert training as they grow older. They will learn respect for other dogs as well as humans, making them much more sociable as they grow older.
Enrolling your older rescue dog in training can be the best money you’ve ever spent. Not only will you create a stronger bond with your pet, but your pet will learn to respect you as their leader, resulting in a calmer environment with fewer behavioral problems. You can select from “doggy bootcamps” where your pet stays on location with a trainer for a week (or longer), or you can work with a trainer who runs a boarding facility to care for your pet during the day.
Daycare can be a great way to socialize your dogs – particularly if they are in the latter stages of training. Most boarding facilities require that your dog have a temperament test, which is done on site and is a simple way to assess which “group” of dogs your pets will be in during daycare. Many facilities choose to have several daycare play sessions grouped by size. This is to ensure your pet does not get injured by rambunctious play. Small dogs will play with small dogs, larger dogs will play with larger dogs.
Whether you enjoy hiking, biking or just having a cup of coffee with fellow dog-lovers, there are as many activities for pets as there are for humans! There are hundreds of activities you can enroll in with your dog including freestyle dancing, herding, lure coursing, dock-diving, or surfing. Choose an activity that you enjoy and chances are great that your dog will fit right in. If you’re single, this is also a fantastic way to meet like-minded people. Search for “dog meetup group” or “pet-friendly activities” to find some great opportunities where you’ll meet some people who love pets as much as you do.
Join a club with your pet – whether it’s sipping wine at doggy happy hour, massaging your pet during a session of “Doga” (dog-yoga), or running an agility course with friends, there are many clubs available that will help you and your pet meet fun people who share similar interests. There are also pet-friendly book clubs if you’re looking for something a little less active. Most of these groups meet at the very pet-friendly Starbucks coffee shops or somewhere similar.
There are many pet-friendly shows that occur throughout the U.S., but it’s important to remember that you’ll need to have control of your pets at all times. They are fantastic ways of socializing your pets on a budget. At these shows, you will be exposed to new toys, new training methods and plenty of entertaining activities. Watch your local paper for a list of shows coming to your town. Be sure you keep your pet on a leash at all times, be courteous to other dogs (don’t let them “walk up” to others unless you’ve asked), and make certain your pet is up-to-date on vaccinations.
Taking your pet to an on- or off-leash dog park will help your pet learn how to work within a pack while affording you some opportunities to meet other like-minded people. Be sure you follow the rules, pay attention to whether or not it’s an on- or off-leash park, and be sure you pay close attention to your dogs and how they interact with others while you’re there. This is not a place to “drop your dog off” – treat it the same way you would if you were taking your human kids to a public park and you’ll do just fine!
There are a number of activities that you can enroll in with your pets. For a list of ideas, activities, and events that are dog-friendly, check out PetsWeekly.com