Puppy Socialization Tips
Exposing your puppy to new friends, situations and environments is a necessary part of development. This exposure is called socialization. And it’s the perfect way to ease your newest family member into acceptable behavior in your home. By socializing your puppy, you’re helping him to become the most well-adjusted version of himself. This transition ensures that he remains happy, confident and able to cope in potentially stressful situations.
The goal of socializing your puppy is to expose the little canine to as much variety and potential stressors as possible. This introduction acts like a vaccine, preventing behavior problems down the line. And socialization isn’t just for your convenience; it may surprise you to learn that behavior problems are the leading killers of dogs under three years old.
Behavioral Sweet Spots
In spite of what you may have heard, you really can teach older dogs a trick or two. But there are certain stages of development when your puppy is especially impressionable. These stages are considered to be the behavioral sweet spots of puppy socialization.
Between eight and 12 weeks is a critical time for puppy development. This is when they to begin to establish their thoughts and attitudes about what’s normal and acceptable — and how they’re going to respond or react in various settings or situations. This is the time when puppy socialization can have the greatest impact.
The Possibilities Are Endless
Keep in mind; your puppy is entering a completely new world. It can be a little overwhelming with all the new sights, sounds and smells. It may even be the first time your new pet walks on carpet, hardwood or tile. Take your time showing them your home and watch how they react to the things they encounter. It’s recommended that you expose your pup to a wide variety of:
Take special consideration when exposing your new pet to things like:
- Boisterous children
- Crowded areas or large groups of people
- Loud noises
- Household appliances or tools
This is the prime time to introduce puppies to other family pets as well. A new pet is an adjustment for everybody. But your impressionable pup is a quick study and eager to learn. Watch closely as puppies interact with:
- Other, especially older, dogs
- Other pets, like rabbits, hamsters, even fish
If you have a penchant for outdoor activities, let your new puppy to earn her sea legs for sailing or paddle boarding. She could be your new yoga partner or running buddy. With all of the wonderful things that you and your dog can do together, the puppy socialization possibilities are endless.
Put Out the Welcome Mat
Making your puppy feel welcome in her new home begins with comfort. A nice cozy bed provides a safe and personal space. Try something new that suits your puppy and fits in with your décor, such as a:
- Luxurious companion bolster bed that comes in four different colors
- Denim urban bed, made with furniture-grade craftsmanship
- Ferrari car bed, which adds a little fun in your new puppy’s surroundings
- Persian pet crate bed in pink or blue
The key to successful puppy socialization is to keep the overall experience as positive as possible. You should never hesitate to employ all the warm fuzzy tactics, such as:
- Shameless love
- Cuddles on your lap
- Food reinforcement
Always try your best to maintain a calm, easy, confident manner. Your puppy looks to you for guidance and cues. If you’re nervous or upset, he’ll be too. Just breathe, relax and most importantly, have fun!
Training with Treats
You want your pooch to start associating fun and happiness with the things you’re introducing. Don’t hesitate to use treats as rewards during training. Just be sure to break treats into smaller pieces to make it easier for your new furry friend to digest. This also allows you to reward your puppy many more times for positive behavior.
Here are a few treats sure to please your puppy. They’re all-natural and super-healthy, too. Try some:
- Chicken & Turkey Krakems
- Becker's Veggie Bites
- Grain-free training Buddy Bites
- Crunchy cheddar training treats
Take It Easy
Make the training and socialization process a family affair by getting everyone in on the fun. By exposing your pet to more people, you help him to expand his comfort zone. If you let him go adventuring with your kids or friends, ask them to inform you if anything new happens and how your pup reacted. You can learn a lot if he’s exposed to:
- An ambulance blaring its siren
- Other animals along the sidewalk or in the park
- A mailman or other city worker
- Construction sites
The great part about building this new relationship with your pet is that he’ll lead the way and show you where he may need a little more work. Puppy socialization isn’t a process to be rushed. It’s ok to go slow. Proper puppy socialization means doing everything you can for your pet to feel comfortable. So don’t take your puppy to a large party or concert before you’ve introduced him to strangers and small groups on several occasions.
New Dog, New Duds
Public puppy socialization means stepping out in style while your new family member gets accustomed to being led around and reined in when necessary. And you can do it in style too with leads like a:
- Cinopelca Italian dog harness
- Fine leather step-in harness
- Moritz collar and matching lead
- Natural rope lead
A Doggie Socialite
Who doesn’t enjoy hanging out with their friends? Once your pup’s been vaccinated, puppy classes are all the rage and rightfully so. This is a perfect environment to begin introducing her to new dogs and people. But it’s also a wonderful opportunity for puppies to start getting acquainted with basic commands and obedience training. Puppy socialization benefits social life for both of you.
And no puppy socialization would be complete without a trip to the poshest puppy groomers in the city. Start getting your pet accustomed to the finer things in life, like a healthy, resplendent coat. And building a relationship with your stylist is important for any up-and-coming socialite!