How to train pets to be friendly

Friendliness is both a character trait and a learned behavior. To train your pet to be friendly, it is best to start young. Fear and aggression are usually learned early on by being treated badly, neglected or overly stressed. Getting your pet to be friendly requires that you consider the type of pet you have, their natural personality and the best ways to help your pet be comfortable around people and other animals.

Socialization is the process by which you can give your pet the skills they need to feel comfortable and to behave appropriately in social situations. Early exposure to other people and animals is crucial. Take your young pet with you when you visit your friends (having made sure it’s alright with them first, of course). Be prepared for these visits with early house-training and whatever you may need in case of “accidents”. Your friends won’t like you or your pet if you leave messes, especially those of the wet or smelly variety.

Be sure to teach your pet where to ride in your car. That cute little puppy curled up under your knees won’t be so cute when they weigh 100 pounds and you can’t reach the brake pedal. Public transportation often has guidelines that must be followed. Familiarize yourself with those guidelines and start your pet’s worldly experiences while they are still young. It will make your efforts far more successful.

Some pets are just naturally shy. You can’t force them to be something they’re not. What you can do is create experiences that help them to develop confidence. Be sure to praise and reward your pet for all their good behaviors, especially in public. You can enlist the help of friends and family in socializing your pet. Dogs, in particular, understand the pack mentality. Be sure your dog knows that you are their leader and their protector. Do not get defensive in social situations. Your pet will pick up on it and will react with fear or aggression. Instead, be the calm, fearless leader they need you to be.

Do not take your pet into situations they won’t be able to handle. If you know your nephew is an out of control brat, leave your pet home. If you know your pet doesn’t like crowds, don’t take them to the parade. Know their limitations. Pushing an animal will only result in failure and disaster. Instead, seek out places and events that allow you to care for your pet and take your pet’s personality into consideration. Parks, pet stores, bike paths, homes of friends and family are all good places where you can take your pet and teach them to behave appropriately and enjoy themselves.

The more you take your pet out into the world for positive social experiences, the more likely they will learn to be comfortable and well-behaved, no matter where you go. These social skills will allow them to relax and be the wonderful individuals you know and love.

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