Why Socializing Your Dog is Important

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You probably often hear that socialization with people and other dogs is an important part of keeping your dog happy and well adjusted. Here are just a few reasons to socialize your dog:

Your dog learns to play
As puppies, dogs play with litter mates and other dogs in their “pack”. They rough house and play-bite and through this kind of play, puppies learn boundaries and limits in terms of how rough they can be with their playmates and other dogs. Continuing to play with dogs throughout its life will reinforce your dog’s social skills when encountering others of its kind.

Tip: Socialization with litter mates is one reason why it is so important that a puppy does not get separated from its mother or siblings before it is 8 weeks old (sometimes even older). If buying a puppy, make sure that it has not been weaned before 8 weeks of age!

Your dog gets accustomed to different types of people
Have you ever met or heard of a dog that just doesn’t like certain people? Perhaps it is fearful of people of a certain age, gender, sometimes even ethnicity? One bad experience can make your dog associate that type of person with negative experiences. This is why it’s important that your dog meet as many different kinds of people as possible in a positive setting as a puppy and throughout its life.

Tip: When you have guests at your house, if they don’t mind, get them to interact with your dog (even if only for a few minutes). Make sure that the experience is a positive one for your dog. For example, you can get your guest to give your dog a treat, toy, or even just a scratch. Start taking your dog with you to the shops and as many other places as possible to make sure it encounters different kinds of people. Set your dog up to succeed by ensuring the attention it gets is pleasant and positive. If your dog starts looking overwhelmed from too much attention or excitement, lead it away to settle down and relax. The sooner in your dog’s life that you can start socializing it with people the better.

Socialization helps to build your dog’s confidence
Meeting people and other dogs in positive settings will help your dog to build confidence in itself. A nervous dog can display aggression out of fear. A confident dog that is accustomed to encountering different people and animals can stay calm and friendly (or just indifferent, if it isn’t the playful kind) without reacting out of fear or confusion.

Tip: Start socializing your dog with other dogs as early as possible. If you just brought home a new puppy, wait until it has its initial vaccinations before exposing it to new dogs. After that, allow your dog to meet other dogs, especially calm and confident adult dogs. Do not expose your puppy to dogs you don’t know and trust, or dogs who appear fearful, aggressive, or ill.

Ongoing socialization
Dogs require ongoing socialization with other dogs and people throughout their lives. Taking your dog for a walk at the park or putting together a doggie playgroup can be a great way to socialize your dog. Many owners find dog daycare a great option to keep their dogs from being cooped up in the house alone while they are at work. Ongoing socialization plays an important part in keeping your four legged friend happy and healthy.


Liza is a passionate dog owner and writes for K9 to 5, who are professional dog groomers in Perth, Western Australia. They offer dog grooming, dog day care, and other services. K9 to 5 staff are experienced and qualified animal carers and owners, including vet nurses and professional groomers.

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About Author

Devoted pet owner and now, devoted pet editor, Judi spent her time working in traditional offices, keeping the books and the day-to-day operations organized. Taking her dog to work every day for over a decade never seemed odd. Neither did having an office cat. She knows what it's like to train a new puppy and she's experienced the heartache of losing beloved companions.

10 Comments

  1. Another great post.

    When Sisko was a pup we did all we could to socialize him with dogs and people. He is always included in our get togethers at our house, and often is invited with us when we go out.

    I take him on group dog walks and to the dog park regularly.

    In the end, all this socializing really does go a long long way to having a happy, friendly and as you say, confident dog

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  3. You couldn’t be more right. Socialization with both litter mates and humans during the first few months of life is vital for dogs to grow up to be happy members of the family.

    Behavioural issues are the number one cause of death in young dogs. Responsible owners know that socializing their dogs will prevent a wide array of behavioural issues.

  4. I work with a local rescue group and socialization is one of the biggest issues we run into from precious owners. We require our foster homes to participate in dog socialization events to help these wonderful pets get a leg up on adapting in the future.

  5. Thanks for this very helpful post. It made me realize that my pet also needs to socialize not only to humans but also to other pets as well may it be dogs, cats or any other sorts. I think, like us humans, socializing also makes them a better pet and knows how to deal with different people and animals alike.

  6. Socializing pets are one of the things that pet owners fail to doing. They think that it would just be okay if they don’t socialize there pets at all. However it is very important that they let their pets socialize for them to learn and observe new things around them.

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