A pet owner would like to have his or her animal buddy be friendly. The idea is to have a pet that is not overly aggressive but able to interact with other animals and humans easily. That sometimes is difficult. Animals, particularly dogs, are not born overly aggressive. It is a conditioned behavior.
Dogs can overreact when they meet other canines. There can be tense encounters and this is the most common problem. The antisocial behavior is often the result of fear. The dog may not know how to understand another animals intentions, and the instinctive reaction then is to lash out as a defense mechanism. When dogs are puppies they should be around good-natured animals to better learn good social skills. It is primarily because those traits were not learned early that antisocial behavior is exhibited later. This is not just a problem with dogs. Cats have difficulty with being sociable and don’t always bonded well with their owners. In either situation there are ways to train the animal to be less hostile and standoffish.
Social skills training for dogs ought to start at the puppy stage. It is important to have the pup comfortable with people by the time it is 12 weeks old. An easy way to do this is to introduce a little pet to as many people as possible. The puppy then learns to be comfortable around human beings, and less likely to be afraid of them and bite. Supplying guests with some little treats helps reinforce the notion in the puppy that people are buddies.
More people are adopting shelter dogs and these are animals that may not have learned any real social skills as puppies. It’s a little bit different to teach an adult dog how to be friendly, especially if that animal has been in an abusive home. Some puppies are encouraged to socialize with other dogs but that can be difficult for a mature animal. The important training is to shape behavior so that the adult dog behaves calmly around people or other animals. Quiet behavior should be reinforced with little treats. Yelling at the dog or punishing it is counterproductive. An owner should be looking to reinforce positive behavior with rewards instead of slaps.
Punishment is even more counterproductive in dealing with cats. These animals are very independent and punishment only frightens them. Treat rewards for social behavior produces the kind of results a pet owner is looking for. It will require patience because cats learn best through repetition. However, it doesn’t take too much time before the cat is beginning to be much more social than before. As with dogs, the socialization training ought to start at the kitten stage.
The younger the animal is the easier the social skills training will be. It has to be consistent and positively reinforced with treats or other small rewards. Adopted animals that are older will require more attention. In these cases the owner should also find out as much is possible beforehand about the environment the animal was in. That is going to have an effect on behavior. There are a number of television shows that deal with aggressive animals, and they could be watched for some tips and ideas. The pet owner should seek to develop a bond by getting to know as much about the pet’s behavior as possible. Combine that knowledge with a little patience and positive reinforcement will result in a very friendly animal.