One of the reasons that I decided to research and write about this topic is because I think socialization is absolutely vital to a pet’s physical and mental wellbeing. And as a petsitter and dog walker, I also don’t like seeing dogs and cats that have not been socialized. It makes it very difficult to do my job. I don’t like it when I see a person coming towards me with their dog and as soon as they see me they turn around because they don’t think it is right for their dog to interact or they are afraid of the dogs that I am walking. I especially don’t like it when I see a puppy wanting to meet the dogs that I am walking so bad and their owners won’t let them. So here are some important points to think about when getting a dog or cat.
Some people chose to adopt an older dog or cat and that pet may have issues that do not allow it to be as social with other animals or humans. For a dog or cat, the optimum age for socialization is 3-12 weeks of age. It is important for them to be around other people, other puppies and dogs, different social situations, and even car rides as often as possible. Exposing the pup or kitty to as many different social situations up to 12 weeks of age is vital because it can quell their fears and stop social anxieties.
The positive reasons for socializing your pets are:
- They will be less stressed around new situations.
- Their attitude is better.
- Their behaviors are much better in different settings.
- It teaches them to have self-confidence and acceptance of other people and other pets.
The negative consequences of not socializing your pets are:
- If you do not socialize your pet as a baby, you will not be able to change the behavior as they become adults (as those of us know who have adopted older pets).
- They may not get the best vet care because they will act out at the vet and the doctor may not be able to get accurate readings or accurate testing done because of the pet misbehaving.
- They may be scary to house guests, children, or other pets.
- When a dog or cat is unsocialized, they may respond out of fear causing damage to something or someone.
- The places that an owner can take their pet are limited and the activities that you might want to do with your pet are also limited.
Puppies and kittens are so adorable and can be a lot of fun. These pets are very trusting when they are young. In order to keep that trust and not have them become fearful, they should be exposed to as many pleasant and positive experiences as possible and to as many people and places as possible. So if you are going to get a puppy or kitten, investing time and energy into the socialization of your pet is one of the many ways to take care of your pet. Plan exposures to the various animals, people, places and activities that will be part of your pup or kitten’s new life. Providing positive and diverse experiences for your dog or cat will help them grow into adulthood without becoming fearful or aggressive.