Dogs are naturally very social animals, much more so than any other animal. They especially enjoy all of the time they spend with their owners and many dogs love to socialize with different people and other dogs they meet during outings with their owners. Moon-Fanelli, Ph.D., a certified applied animal behaviorist at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University recommends spending some one-on-one time with your dog “in mutually enjoyable physical activities.” Social activities can be pursued both at home and away from home. The goal is to expose your pet to as many different people, pets and environments as possible. By being exposed to a variety of situations, they learn how to cope with people and dogs with different personalities, both friendly and unfriendly. Dogs have an innate ability to perceive the emotions, needs and hostilities of other animals and humans and this ability is enhanced as they spend more and more time with new people and animals.
New pet owners usually spend a lot of time with their little puppies. They play with them; take them to obedience training classes, for walks, trips to the park and on visits with family and friends, which increases their ability to adapt to changes in their daily lives. This adaptability improves their behavior during social encounters.
Unfortunately, many pet owners tend to spend less time with their pets doing social activities as the dogs get older and the newness of the pet wears off. Social occasions need to be continued throughout a dog’s life in order for their social skills to remain with them into adulthood. Dogs who do not continue to be socialized often lose the social skills they learned as puppies. It is not unusual for dogs to become withdrawn, easily frightened and aggressive as they grow older when they are left alone for long periods of time and have very little contact with people other than their owners.
There are several ways to spend extra time with your special four-legged friend as you go about your normal daily routine, besides taking them with you during outings. You can practice their obedience commands while cooking dinner or making snacks for the kids. Try brushing them or just cuddling with them as you watch TV. Another way to enhance the time you spend with your dog is when bathing and grooming them. You can also dress them in …