By nature, the Coton de Tulear is lovable and affectionate, but without proper exposure to people and other animals, it can become aggressive and defensive. If you have children, you should involve your children in the socialization process slowly so that your Coton will not be frightened. Socializing your Coton simply means helping it adjust to people, other pets, and its surroundings. The key to socializing your Coton de Tulear is to make it feel safe and secure, even around strangers.
Socializing your Puppy
If you get your Coton as a puppy, you're in luck, because this is the easiest time for socialization. From seven weeks to six months old, you should constantly get your Coton acquainted with people and other pets. It is important to note that if you accept a Coton less than seven weeks old, you will have a more difficult time socializing it. If removed from the care of its mother during this time, the Coton will miss out on valuable lessons that can only be taught by the mother. If you don't take proper care to socialize your Coton, it may become aggressive and even engage in biting.
Since socialization as a puppy is crucial, you may want to consider some type of doggy kindergarten. This will expose your Coton to many foreign elements in a controlled environment and help it get used to its surroundings.
Cotons and Kids
The Coton de Tulear is a friendly companion to all, even children. If you have just gotten a new Coton puppy and you have children at home, you need to make sure that your dog is introduced in a proper manner. The Coton de Tulear can be shy and suspicious, and the natural clumsiness of children may make your Coton feel overwhelmed. It is unlikely that your Coton will exhibit aggressive or defensive behavior towards your children, especially if they've been acquainted for a while. But because children often drop, step on, and sit on Cotons, your dog may feel uncomfortable and stressful around them. It is important that you teach your children how to be gentle and cautious when playing with your Coton.
If you've adopted an adult Coton de Tulear, there's good news and bad news. The bad news is that you really can't teach an old dog new tricks. If for some reason you have an adult Coton that has been improperly socialized, you will need to control your Coton's behavior through socialization exercises. At this point, it is highly unlikely that you will change your Coton's attitude towards people and pets, and maybe even the world in general, but you can limit the fall-outs. Taking your dog to a dog park or some other type of doggy class will give your Coton a better idea on how it should behave with people and other animals.