Socialization is the process of preparing a dog or cat to enjoy interactions and be comfortable with other animals, people, places and activities. Without this vital learning stage, your pets may find it more difficult to accept things in their environment as normal – many things like unfamiliar human or object can give them cause for anxiety.
Socialising your pets carefully is all part of being a responsible pet owner, and there are plenty of ways you can ensure this process goes as smoothly as possible.
1. Start early
With puppies and kittens, their social development starts before they leave their mother through interactions with the rest of the litter. This is why they are not supposed to leave their mothers before a certain age, as missing out on this vital time could impact their temperament and behavior in later life.
Once this period is over, puppies and kittens will be more cautious and wary of new people and experiences. That’s not to say socialization shouldn’t continue, otherwise you will limit your pet’s development. Ensure you continue to introduce them to new experiences after this time to mould them into a happy and emotionally healthy adult.
2. Socializing with people
Providing your pet with a lot of attention and affection will help them to feel confident around people. Dogs generally enjoy lots of human contact, whilst only some cats do. Ensure your pet has the option of engaging with you and others in your home by giving them attention should they venture over to you.
The more exposure to other animals and people your pet receives, the more confident they will become. A well-socialized pet can be determined by their reactions to others. However, don’t bombard puppies and kittens with too many new experiences a day, as this could overwhelm them. On the whole, along with other essential matters such as pet insurance and regular veterinarian check-ups, socialization is a good way to ensure your dog or cat is being given the best of care.