If you’re a dog parent, you’ve most likely done your homework on raising an overall happy pup. You’ve made your list and checked it twice, ensuring that, sure, your pup is eating the right foods, getting enough exercise, and receiving lots of extra love! Lately, we at Homescape Pets have been thinking about doggie exercise and socialization in particular, especially when it comes to socializing with new sites and people. There are plenty of obvious reasons why a well-socialized dog is a happy dog: getting exercise, burning off excess or nervous energy, and playing with pals at the dog park can all have a direct and positive impact on a dog’s physical health and aggression levels.
But did you know that there are also many hidden benefits to canine socialization? In order to make sure your pup is getting the most out of life, we thought we’d share the not-so-obvious benefits of socialization. This list might just change the way you approach socializing your pooch, and you’ll even be able to step up your game when it comes to doggie social outings!
- Socialized Dogs = Higher Confidence
You might be surprised just how much confidence informs other behaviors in dogs. Think about what fear and anxiety do to human behavior—when stressed, some people lose their appetites. On the other hand, some stressed out folks find themselves hungrier than usual! Either way, anxiety can negatively impact our eating habits, and the same goes for our dogs.
A confident dog is also less likely to have accidents in the house or be skittish and jumpy to loud noises. Dogs who are confident will be less driven to behaviors that shame them. Dogs are pack animals, so a socialized and confident pooch will be less likely to suffer from the level of separation anxiety that is detrimental to his or her health when he finally gets some alone time to rest.
- Socialized Dogs are Less Likely to Run Away
A run-away pet is every pet parent’s worst nightmare. It hurts us to even think about it! But it’s important to keep in mind in order to prevent the worst from happening—you don’t know what dangers your beloved canine will be exposed to without you!
Skittish dogs are at higher risk of fleeing the nest at the first available opportunity. Remember, dogs can also be afraid of what is unfamiliar to them. You want to make sure that your pup is adjusting well to his or her surroundings, including your neighborhood, so that she or he has gotten used to staying.
- Socializing Dogs Decreases Stress at the Vet
Let’s face it: whether or not you consider your pooch perfectly socialized, not very many dogs are thrilled to visit their groomer or vet. These activities are very much hands-on, and unfamiliar hands can scream “stranger danger” to a lot of dogs! However, the more socialized your dog is, the less anxious he or she will be when it’s time for those crucial appointments.
It’s important that your dog is able to remain relatively calm at the groomer or vet. Not only will you be happy to know that your dog isn’t in emotional distress, but your trusted veterinarian and groomer will be able to do their jobs—ensuring that your pup not only looks good, but feels good and stays healthy!
- Socializing Dogs Helps with Mental and Emotional Health
That’s right—just like in humans, canine depression is real. There’s no mistaking when your pup is sad, like when they’ve done something naughty or when they know they’ve upset you. But signs of doggie depression can vary, from losing interest in eating or other enjoyable activities, to other behaviors that seem “off,” like sleeping more than usual. Even excessive paw licking, when not already linked to skin problems, can be a sign of depression and anxiety in dogs.
A lack of proper socialization can be a factor in canine depression. A dog’s mental and emotional health will benefit from learning how to make friends and interacting with other animals and people. And, having evolved from their wild ancestors, dogs are meant to enjoy nature! Be sure to expose your dog to as much fresh air and sunshine as possible.
- Socialized Dogs Have Happy Parents
This might seem obvious, but when you really think about it, dogs benefit from having happy parents. Dogs have developed stronger senses than humans, and you might sometimes take for granted that your beloved companion is sensitive to your every passing emotion.
Having an unsocialized dog can be extremely stressful, from cleaning up messes inside your home, to dealing with doggie drama outside the home. Maintaining your dog’s socialization skills means fewer embarrassments and fears in public. Traveling with your dog will not only be easier, but more enjoyable—as traveling should be! At the end of the day, your dog loves you just as much as you love them (if not more) and will pick up on your anxiety and stress. A lack of socialization sets you up for a cycle of unhappiness with your companion because when you’re unhappy, Fido is unhappy.
How to Build and Maintain Your Dog’s Socialization Skills
The good news is, it’s not difficult to keep up with your dog’s social life! If you’re not already taking your dog to local dog parks, now is a good time to do some research and find dog-friendly parks in your area. Depending on where you live, check out your local beaches or lakes in the summertime.
Even if you’re not headed out of town, look up doggie daycare and boarding as an option. Doggie daycare allows your dog the socialization he or she needs, and you will finally get a break from the stress of looking after an unsocialized pup. We use Rover.com for doggie daycare and boarding. We’d love to give a shoutout to our go-to dog-sitter, Melissa, who is not only a reliable caretaker but an overall incredible friend to both of our pups and us!
If you’re having trouble socializing your pup or want to start off on the right foot after a recent adoption, we recommend our Restful Pet Hemp Oil and Companion’s Best Day. Made with Chamomile and Valerian, Restful Pet Hemp Oil promotes relaxation in times of stress, especially for pups who are skittish in social situations, while Companion’s Best Day is specially formulated with CBD to support the calming effects of Restful Pet. If you’re working to socialize your dog, then Restful Pet Hemp Oil and Companion’s Best Day is the perfect combo to aid in your pet’s success!
We hope you enjoy your next trip around the block, your next visit to the dog park, or the drink in hand with your pooch laying next to you on the restaurant patio!