Naturally, dogs are sociable creatures. Socializing does not just consist of interacting with other dogs but with people, as well as their environment. At a young age, dogs enjoy getting out and meeting people, playing with other dogs, and discovering the world around them. The more they are exposed to when they are young, the more comfortable they will be around everyday sights, sounds, people, and other animals. Once your dog passes this age they become more aware of the world, making them more frightened of what is around them. Between the ages of 3 to 12 weeks, your dog should be exploring the world and being exposed to people as well as other animals. After about 18 weeks of age, your pet will start to lose this ability to be open about certain things around them and become more suspicious.
Causing your dog to socialize with people, animals, and to the environment will benefit not just them but you as well. Having socialized your dog, this will help your dog be better at preventing aggressive behavior. If they are used to being around everyday things then they will be calmer and relaxed resulting in a very happy dog. It will also prevent anxiety in dogs since they will be more relaxed. Your dog will especially be fine if they need to be left at a kennel with other dogs as well as other people. Furthermore, socializing can cause your dog to be more obedient to you if it is done. Overall, they will experience less behavioral problems when they get older.
When they are young, it is good to get them used to places and people they may be around when they are older such as the groomers. It is good to take them for car rides, get them to go to dog parks, and have them interact with people of different appearances so they do not get scared of someone who may look different just because they have a beard. After such events of socializing, it is good to reward your dog so they understand that they did not go through a bad experience but rather a rewarding one.
Other techniques you can use to help your dog socialize is to alternate them on and off the leash. Furthermore, when they are on the leash you should not tug the leash too much. By tugging the leash, you are giving your dog a negative vibe of when they are trying to say hello to another dog making them less social. They will think there is something to fear when you pull their leash towards you. It's never too late to help your dog to get out into the world but it may become more difficult with age so get them out when they are young!