Proper socialization is the key to owning a well-adjusted pup who enjoys meeting new people.
"Well-socialized dogs are happy and easy to control," said American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen Director and Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist Mary Burch. "They give a good impression to others and make the people they meet feel that they are safe."
Dr. Burch offers the following tips on how to properly socialize your pooch.
1. Start from the very beginning. Whether you have a puppy or an older dog, you should begin socializing him as soon as you get him. Make sure to have daily playtime together in order to build a bond with your new canine companion. Examples of play you can try are sitting on the floor and cuddling with or hugging your dog, playing with your dog with his favorite toys, or throwing a toy and encouraging your pup to retrieve it.
2. See new people, places, and things. Try taking your dog on a walk to a local park, pet-supply store, or other places where you will encounter new people and new environments. When you're out on walks, give your dog a chance to walk on different surfaces as well so he gets used to new things.
3. Socialization never ends. Socializing your dog is not something that you do for a brief period of time and then end it. It is something that is ongoing and should become a natural part of everyday life with your dog.
For more information on responsible dog ownership, visit Dr. Burch's Canine Good Citizen blog at http://caninegoodcitizen.wordpress.com/.
(c) 2011, The American Kennel Club, Inc., www.akc.org