How to Socialize Your Pet for The Holidays

During the holiday season, your pets may be exposed to a number of holiday guests, festivities, and new situations that may cause them to feel shy, or threatened. When your pet is not socialized, or properly trained to be social with other humans and pets, they may feel inclined to run away, bite, or even urinate at inappropriate times. However, you can take steps to socialize your pet and train them to handle different types of people and situations, which can help lead to healthy behavior in the long run, and an enjoyable holiday for everyone. Continue reading this article to learn more about the steps you can take to socialize your pet for the holiday season.


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    Begin socializing your pet when they are very young. Your pet can best retain information and become trained for socializing when they are between 3 and 12 weeks old. If you have an older or adopted pet, you can still attempt to socialize them, however, the degree of success may vary.
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    Take your pet to locations frequented by a variety of different people on a daily basis. Your pet will quickly become accustomed to all types of people with consistent exposure on a regular basis. For example, take your pet to public locations such as parks, strip malls, or pet stores several times per week.
    • Choose public locations and venues that will allow your pet to see both men and women genders, young children, and people with different ethnic backgrounds and nationalities. For example, take your pet to a children's park so they can become more social with young children.
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    Introduce your pet to new environments whenever possible. Your pet can still become socialized when they experience new sights and smells, even if they are not socializing with people. For example, if your pet is accustomed to quiet environments, take them to a busy park, or walk with them on a busy street.
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    Place your pet in a pet carrier on a regular basis. Introducing your pet to its carrier can help them become used to certain situations that require the use of a pet carrier; such as traveling, or taking your pet to the veterinarian.
    • Leave the door of the pet carrier open throughout the day so your pet can become accustomed to the carrier, or place treats inside the carrier to show your pet that the carrier is not a form of punishment.
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    Reward your pet when they are socializing with new people or behaving appropriately in new places. Rewarding your pet with treats and praise will teach your pet that their behavior is encouraged and positive.
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    Involve friends who are strangers to your pet in the socializing process. When people other than yourself interact with your pet in positive ways, your pet will learn that new interactions can be friendly, instead of threatening. For example, instruct your friend to throw toys or treats so your pet can fetch them.
    • Instruct your friends to squat, or sit down in front of your pet when they meet for the first time. Your pet will view this position as a passive and relaxed stance, which can help your pet feel less threatened and more positive about meeting new people.

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    Display a calm demeanor when introducing your pet to new people and situations. Abrupt or nervous manners can startle your pet, or cause them to feel threatened. For example, exhibit a common behavior, such as checking your cell phone, when your pet is encountering a new situation that may cause them to feel shy or nervous.

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