New puppies come with a lot of excitement. Puppies bring the prospect of lots of adventures, fun memories for your entire family, and years of friendship. Puppies are sweet and snuggly, but the puppy days are opportunities to provide lifelong learning for good behavior.
Positive puppy socialization is the key to giving your puppy the knowledge and skills that will allow her to positively interact with both people and other dogs and assure her that the world is mostly a safe place.
Puppy socialization gives your puppy the freedom to explore the world in a positive way. Socialization allows your puppy to learn how to interact with other humans and dogs. Socialization also provides opportunities to hear new sounds and smell new smells in a non-threatening manner.
Giving your puppy the opportunity to socialize creates a dog that will accept being pet by strangers, handled by a veterinarian, and meeting other animals.
When Do You Socialize a Puppy?
Your veterinarian will likely advise that you hold off on meeting a wide variety of other animals--especially those that you don’t know the vaccination history of--or exploring places other animals have been before your puppy has been fully vaccinated. Therefore, speak with your veterinarian to find out his or her recommendation for the appropriate time to expose your puppy to new people and places.
How to Socialize Your Puppy?
Always keep in mind that socializing your puppy is meant to provide the skills and knowledge for good behavior as the puppy grows. Therefore, you want to introduce your puppy to the type of socialization and environments that will be prevalent as he grows.
Make Those Early Weeks Count
Even though your puppy may not be fully vaccinated, those early weeks are an important time to socialize your puppy. Of course, this is an ideal time to socialize your puppy with those in your immediate family. Allow your puppy to get used to kids pulling on his tail or even laying on him. Kids are known for this type of behavior, and, when your puppy is little, he will learn that these actions are playful and not meant to be harmful.
Additionally, until you’ve been given the green light to socialize outdoors by your veterinarian, those early weeks are a great time to have people come to your house to interact with the new puppy. Have people pet your puppy on his head and back, and touch his ears, neck, tummy, and paws. By consistently doing this yourself, and having others do this as well, will teach your puppy that strangers touching him is nothing to fear, and will likely tolerate it as he matures.
Consider Multiple Situations
Will your dog encounter people in uniform or someone wearing sunglasses or gloves? Consider encounters your dog may experience as she grows and make the effort to purposefully socialize her with you and strangers in those situations. The point of these encounters is to provide your puppy with the knowledge that these people or situations are not things to fear. The more knowledge she has the better she will respond as she gets older.
Keep It Positive
Socialize your puppy with positive reinforcement. Stay calm and reassuring as your puppy experiences new things. Provide him with treats when he responds well to new situations.
Once you’ve been given the green light to socialize outdoors with your puppy, you can take your puppy for walks using sidewalks or trails commonly used by other dogs, to dog parks to socialize outdoors with other dogs, or to the groomer to get him used to that type of interaction with people.
Once your puppy has been vaccinated, Bark Central can help you achieve some of your puppy socialization goals either through our grooming or boarding services. Contact us today to find out how.