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The Dangers of Not Socializing Your Dog or Cat

The Dangers of Not Socializing Your Dog or Cat

Socializing your dog or cat is crucial to them growing up to be a happy well-adjusted pet. But what if they don’t get the socialization they need? Here are the dangers of not socializing your pet.

Discomfort Around Other Animals

Not exposing your animal to a variety of other pets increases your chances that your critter will grow up to not appreciate other animals’ company. Introducing your animal to other pets helps teach them valuable communication skills so they have good manners by the time they’re an adult. Without early socialization, innocent play can easily turn into a fight.

Discomfort Around Humans

Don’t limit socialization to exposure to other animals. Your pet also needs to be introduced to a wide variety of people. Expose your animal to people of all ages, heights and ethnicities. Also be sure to have your pet meet people wearing hats and folks with beards, wheelchairs and walkers. Believe it or not, those things can seem scary to an animal without proper socialization!


Fear is often at the root of aggression, so while an animal might seem angry, they might actually just be plain scared. A reactive pet that is in aggressive attack mode might simply be under-socialized and not have the right skills to handle what they consider stressful situations. Instead of running away, these pets act defensively in reaction to whatever is frightening them, whether that be a person, another animal or a motorcycle.

General Fear

Exposing a puppy or kitten to a variety of new experiences desensitizes them to unusual sights and smells. Unfortunately if this socialization doesn’t occur, small things can set them off. Even seemingly benign things like shopping carts can make these animals cower and run away. These pets experience a tremendous amount of anxiety over anything that’s new. This will show as a complete unwillingness to explore new environments.

Fear of Leaving the House

Dogs and cats without proper socialization tend to have very small worlds. Going outside is full of so many new people, places and things that it’s simply too scary for them to leave the house. So under-socialized dogs and cats will resist going for walks or meeting new people.

Unwillingness to Be Controlled

An animal that isn’t used to be touched will generally not enjoy being handled. This can make cuddling and grooming exceedingly difficult. An under-socialized pet will hate being brushed, having their teeth brushed or having their nails clipped. In fact, you may find that these chores are virtually impossible. The only remedy for grooming these animals is taking them to professionals who are experts in handling skittish pets.

Sensitivity to Sound

Many pets freak out when they hear fireworks, thunder or a dump truck drive by, but this issue is exacerbated if the animals aren’t socialized. This fear comes from a general timidness and fear of the unknown. Even less intimidating noises like fans or phone ringers can be a serious problem for these animals. These pets will generally run away from the sound and avoid it at all costs.