How to Socialize Your Adopted Dog

Nov 16, 2020     |      Sophie's Circle

Family with dog at a picnicAfter adopting a dog, it can be tempting to introduce him to everyone you meet right away. But, too much too soon can be overwhelming. Here’s how you can make his social transition a smooth one you’ll both enjoy!

Give Him a Safe Space
Once you bring your dog home, he will need a cozy place away from other people and pets where he can feel secure. This ideally would be a crate that is large enough for him to stand and turn around yet too small to allow running, jumping, or pacing. This will be a safe spot for him to stay overnight or while he is not by your side when he first moves into his new digs. Of course, a calming safety space is especially important for anxious dogs.

If your dog is not a serious chewer, you can try leaving a calming item like a blanket or old sweatshirt with your scent on it in the crate. Eventually, you will likely be able to leave the door open and he will go into the crate like you would go to your bedroom to sleep or receive some privacy. To help him feel more at ease, be sure no one else is allowed in his safe space. Playtime, training time, feeding time, or cuddle time all happens outside of the crate.

Keep Him Close
To build confidence and establish trust, your new furry bestie should stay on lead for the first few days at least while you get to know more about his behavior. Plus, by incorporating immediate positive correction and distraction techniques, keeping your dog close by and on a leash at all times will help him learn the house rules faster. Please remember your dog will require patience and consistency in the beginning as he starts to understand his new routine and your expectations of him.

Stick With a Routine
In addition to the close bond you are forming by being literally tied at the hip, you can also reduce his stress levels by creating a feeding, walking, playtime, training, and sleeping schedule. By letting him know all his needs a being met, he should begin to relax more. After all, the goal with socialization is to have a happy encounter, not a tense moment that could escalate because your dog is nervous.

Remain Optimistic
Another way to help your adorable pooch feel comfortable while meeting people or other animals is to set him up for success with your own body language and tone of voice. It may not look like it, but your dog is paying attention to everything you do and say! So, if you are unsure of how he will react when he greets Grammy, he will sense your doubt and may take it as a sign something is wrong. Instead, treat Grammy’s visit like any other day and expect the best of Mr. Snuggles while knowing you can always correct any missteps as he is still on a leash beside you.

Take it Slow
Speaking of introductions, it may be less stressful to start socializing your dog by introducing him one-by-one to your family members or a couple of friends who have been practicing the CDC issued safety recommendations for the COVID-19 pandemic. For animal greets, ask your family or friends who have a four-legged cutie of their own to take a walk with you. If you have a fenced yard and you see your dog is enjoying his time with the other dog, you can let him off his leash to run and play.

Bring Him to Dinner
When he is ready to be around more people and animals, why not bring him to dinner? It may not be a dog park or home improvement store outing, but, during the pandemic, letting him sit by your feet on lead with some water as you eat a meal with your family or friends outdoors may be the safest opportunity for him to experience being in public. This way, he can still take in the sights, sounds, and smells of being around different people and dogs without a high risk of contracting the coronavirus.

Thus, by following these tips, you can socialize your rescue in a way that produces a tail-wagging good time for all! Ready to find the right adoptee for you? How perfect! We happen to have some of the most precious eligible candidates in town right on our website waiting to be matched with a loving owner just like you!