After almost a year of isolation and separation, many people are starting to go out and re-enter the social world. Our pets are doing the same, with dog parks and hiking trails becoming more and more populated with the change of seasons.
It’s important to socialize your pet from a young age to prevent any issues with jealousy or aggression. Socialization is the process of “preparing a dog or cat to enjoy interactions and be comfortable with other animals, people, places and activities.”1 The best time to begin socializing pets, per the AMVA, is during the period between 3 and 14 weeks of age for puppies, and 3 and 9 weeks of age for kittens.1
It can be helpful to plan how you are going to socialize your pet ahead of time. Speak with a certified pet trainer to learn the basics of socialization and the most common do’s and don’ts of training.
A major part of socializing your pet is exposing them to animals, people, environments and activities that will be part of their life. If you are an avid hiker, introducing your pet to many different animals is a good idea to get them used to the different types of encounters they may have on a hiking trail. If you are someone who enjoys going to the park on weekend afternoons, getting your pet accustomed to seeing young children and families, along with other pets, is an excellent idea.
An essential component in the training process is providing positive feedback, praise, play and treats to reward their behaviors. It’s always important to watch your pets for signs of overwhelm or withdrawal, and be mindful of their experiences in new situations. Move at a pace that feels appropriate and comfortable for you and your pet.
For many pets, praise in the form of treats can be highly effective. Animals tend to be food-driven by nature, and providing them with healthy, delicious treats during training is a good way to emphasize wanted behaviors.
Momentum Carnivore Nutrition has a wide variety of treats that are perfect for training and socializing a new pet. Conveniently packaged and easy to give, Momentum treats are sure to help any pet owner in the training process. Flavors like turkey liver, pork tenderloin, and chicken nibblets are sure to capture your pet’s attention and reward them for a job well done. Most of Momentum’s treats are low in calorie, which is beneficial in training sessions when a lot of treats are being given.
Treating your pet for good behavior doesn’t have to stop when they’re out of their puppy or kitten phase. Continue to give your pet rewards for calm or playful behavior in social situations throughout their life to continuously reinforce the wanted behaviors. For pets who are struggling with the socialization process, seek guidance from an animal behavior expert or your veterinarian.