Importance of Companionship & Socialization

Many of us are fortunate enough to share our homes with our dogs, providing food, water, shelter and love in exchange for unconditional love in return, steady companionship and comfort from them.  While it is a wonderful and everlasting relationship and dogs would never complain, or tell us otherwise, there is one thing that they could be missing, and that one thing is socialization.

Some dogs are socialized from the day they are able to stand on their own four paws.  They have the advantage of being brought up in an environment with other dogs, cats, or other animals and many visitors of the human variety.

However, other dogs might not share that same luxury.  For a potpourri of reasons, they might not be as comfortable with other animals or confident around other humans.  For those, they adhere to a very different lifestyle.

Some require the emotional reassurance of having another pet to share their lives with.  If at one time they were living in harmony with another pet and are now the only pet, it is quite conceivable that they miss having a companion of the same species.  They may play less or are now somewhat withdrawn. Sometimes they appear irritable.  If there are no obvious medical reasons for their melancholy behavior, they may simply miss having a friend around.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that they need a new dog in the house, but, they may benefit from frequent trips to the dog park or a scheduled walk with a friend and their dog. As people, we have many opportunities for social outlets both in person and on social media.  Even television provides us with entertainment and a sense of escape.  For dogs, however, we are their only source of companionship.  They rely on us to monitor when they are social and with whom.

For those dogs who have never been friendly with other animals, it’s possible that they don’t “miss” having another friend around, however, and not to burst our own bubbles—but they may want to see other people besides their owners!  If they are friendly toward people when they do encounter them, chances are, they’d like to socialize a bit more with human friends outside of their household, if only for a while.

Realizing that many people adopt older dogs, it can be difficult to determine how social your pup once was, but it is something to consider trying in a safe environment.

For those who are able to adopt puppies, it’s important to get them acclimated with everyone (including humans and other animals) from the start.  Here is where we, as humans, have the advantage to make sure that the pup is social.  This will build confidence in the pup and get them accustomed to meeting others.  In turn, it will make their lives and yours easier (and happier) when it comes time to have people in your home, or when your pup meets another animal on a dog walk.

Elizabeth Parker – Author of Finally Home, Final Journey, My Dog Does That!, Bark Out Loud!, Paw Prints in the Sand,Paw Prints in the Sand: Mission Accomplished, Unwanted Dreams, Phobia, Evil’s Door and Faces of Deception.  Available on!