Tips for Socializing Your Dog
You’ve got a new dog and you’re so excited to show her off to all your friends. Unfortunately, she doesn’t seem so eager. Here are some tricks for getting her out of your room and into the arms of a new friend.
ï»¿Recognize your dog’s shyness
Knowing if your dog is shy and what situations trigger this shyness is key to helping them branch out. Look for any clustered combinations of crouching, inappropriate urinating, racy panting, stiffness, scratching, lip licking, yawning, eye aversion, tail tucking, folded ears, and withdrawing into other rooms. Combinations of these behavior indicate stress and they’re your cue to help.
Start socializing young
In the first few weeks you spend with your dog, social development is extremely important. Help your dog get used to being around other dogs and people, starting by exposing her in neutral environments (so there are no feelings of territory). Don’t reward shyness, only confident behavior.
Make your friends her friends
In helping her meet other dogs, choose friends’ dog you love and trust. Start by letting them interact while loosely leashed. Then give them some free-play together, and encourage their owners to give your dog a pet (on the chin and chest area only at first). Walk the dogs together, starting at a small distance and gradually moving closer. Help her meet your people friends to. Have a fellow dog-lover sit facing away from your dog, avoiding eye contact and holding her favorite toy and a treat. Reward your dog for approaching your friend and taking the toy.
Give soothing yawnsï»¿ ï»¿
Believe it or not yawning is very comforting to a dog. If you see your dog looking stressed and afraid, yawn at her multiple times to calm her down. Encourage your friends to do the same. Your dog will feel safer approaching them.
When in doubt, ask a proï»¿
Try bringing your dog to an obedience class where she can meet new people and dogs in a safe and controlled space. If your pup struggles after you’ve trained her a while, try calling a trainer who specializes in shy dogs. Don’t give up!