It’s always heartbreaking to meet a dog that is terrified of people or other dogs. Making sure your pet gets proper socialization is crucial in their development and will play a big role in both the animals’ and your happiness.
For starters socializing your pet means teaching them how to be around other people or animals. When you bring your dog home they spend the majority of their time with you and immediate family, developing fears or anxiety due to lack of exposure to others. Other than that, why is socialization so important?
Easier Vet Appointments
Even if your dog is happy at home there are times when you will need to bring them into a public space when going to a vet appointment or groomer. If your dog is extremely anxious this will be a difficult process for everyone involved – they will be difficult to control, may be aggressive and will be extremely fearful. This will lead to longer outings that are filled with stress for you both.
Avoiding Health Problems
Not only is fear and anxiety a behavioral issue it is also a health issue. Extreme fear and anxiety can dump unhealthy hormones into your dogs body like adrenaline and cortisol. You’ve heard that stress can kill in humans and that is no different in dogs. These stress reactions are not single events either, if your dog is extremely stressed going to the vet then that reaction is more likely to happen again and again. Fear and the body’s reaction to it is a cycle.
Less Likely To Run Away
If your dog is skittish and easily stressed they probably have an instinctual reaction to deal with it. For some dogs it is aggression but more often it’s the urge to run away. If a skittish dog encounters something unusual to them they are far more likely to run away than a well socialized dog. Once the skittish dog is alone in an unfamiliar place they are likely to get lost and run away from strangers who are helping look for it.
Like running away aggression is a fear response. If your dog is not socialized they probably have a great deal of fear when encountering new people or animals. If your dog is more prone to aggression this can be dangerous for everyone involved. Gently exposing them to the people and animals lessens the fear and calms them down making an aggressive outburst less likely.