Puppy Socialization: Introduce Your Dog To The World!
New puppies soak up information and experiences like a sponge – especially those between the ages of 8 to 12 weeks. This is the ideal time to get your pup out into the open and absorbing positive experiences to help with his socialization.
Say Hello To The Neighbors
Your neighbors and friends are all dying to meet your new precocious pooch. By all means, take your puppy for a walk around the neighborhood. He’ll learn to walk on a loose leash and run into new people and situations. The faster you can introduce your puppy to leash walking the better. That way they see the world on their own four paws, so to speak.
Ask people to meet to gently pet and feed a treat to your pup. Limit interactions to cordial children, good-natured dogs, and responsible adults. It teaches the pup that strangers are good people.
Be careful, though. Until your pup’s immune system has been cranked up by his third set of vaccinations (at 16 to 20 weeks) he’ll be vulnerable to diseases, some potentially deadly.
Another great way to expand your puppy’s circle of friends without making a big scene is to invite a few select dog-savvy adults and children over to greet your puppy. Keep everything low-key and nurturing – no running, squealing, teasing, tussling or poking. Provide treats liberally.
Field Trips Are Great
From the time you get your puppy until he’s about 16 weeks old, socialization is a high priority. Socialization simply means introducing your puppy to new people, places, experiences and other dogs in a positive way. Well-socialized pups grow up to be happy, well-mannered adults.
Keep in mind that your pup’s sociability and outlook depend on a lot of factors. For instance, recent worming or vaccinations, cutting teeth and a recent, long airplane flight can make your pup tired and grumpy. Exposing your pup to too much at these times can cause him to be overwhelmed and taxed rather than enriched by the experience.
Take your puppy to places where dogs are welcome (don’t forget to bring your cleanup supplies). Try to do five to seven new things each week, like experience stairs, bicycles, people with facial hair or glasses, garbage cans, loud noises, new walking surfaces and work trucks, etc. It’s also a great time to introduce your pup to a grooming routine.
And even when your puppy is older than 16 weeks, it’s still a good idea to continue to actively socialize him until he reaches 12 months of age.
The information shared on this site is for information only. It does not take the place of professional advice from your pet’s healthcare provider.