Older dogs who have not been socialized often have traumas, fear of people and other dogs, or behavioral or aggressive issues. These situations are what make the process difficult, plus it is always more complicated to modify deeply ingrained behaviors than to teach a puppy from scratch. However, it is possible to socialize an old dog! With our advice, you will succeed.
Socializing a dog is a unique process
Every dog is different, so every learning and socialization process is also different. For that reason, the advice you find here or on any other page does not work for all dogs. Some may work for you and some may not, but let's talk in general terms.
The ideal is to socialize dogs when they are puppies, since at this stage they learn much more easily, they are more curious, and everything they learn will determine their relationships and character in the future. But if you have an old dog that has not been socialized, don't despair! You can still teach him to socialize and learn to coexist with his environment: people of all ages, other pets and animals, cars, noises, urban furniture... everything around him!
Analyze the situation
As we say, socializing a dog is different in each case. Therefore, it is necessary to analyze and evaluate the particular situation of your pet.
Observe how your pet relates to people, objects, and other pets. Is he/she aggressive? Is he/she afraid? Determining the problems that cause socialization processes is fundamental to being able to correct them. If your dog is adopted and his socialization problems come from his previous life, it can be very difficult or even impossible to know what they are due to.
Once you have completed the process of identifying problems, we recommend you visit an ethologist or a canine educator, even better if he/she specializes in this type of treatment. This way, you will be able to get personalized attention and advice according to your dog's needs.
Tips for socializing an older dog
Although advice from websites should not replace the services of a professional ethologist or educator, we do have a few tips for you that will complement this process and help you get the most out of it while helping your dog feel motivated and happy.
If you want to make socializing your older dog even easier, follow these steps:
Give your pet the quality of life it deserves
Quality food, adequate to their needs, comfort, hygiene, medical care, and lots of affection.
In general, give him everything he needs to be happy.
Do not neglect physical exercise
A dog should leave the house at least twice a day, and three times if it is especially active.
If he gets the exercise he needs, you'll keep him from living under stress, and he'll stay motivated.
Try various sorts of physical activity with your pet, if it is appropriate for him, in addition to walks; you can perform sports together, go camping, hiking, etc. Spend time with each other!
Always use positive reinforcement to educate your pet.
You will encourage his desire to learn and he will feel useful and happy.
At Dogalyo, we categorically reject the methods of punishment of animals, both inside and outside the training sessions. Please do not hit or humiliate your pet! You will not achieve anything good.
Know your dog well
This way, you can anticipate their reactions and avoid stressful or frightening situations.
Let other people participate in the socialization process.
As long as they are calm and transmit confidence to your pet.
Follow the advice of the professional who is helping you
Do not expose your dog to situations that you do not recommend. You could make the situation worse.
Be very patient
These things take time! Dogs don't learn overnight, especially when they are older! If you give your dog love and understanding, he will learn to socialize without problems, but don't be in a hurry.
Socializing an older dog can be complicated and sometimes frustrating, but it's not impossible! It just takes a lot of love and a lot of willpower.