If you are a new dog parent who is having trouble with socializing your pup and is thinking of giving up— don’t!
Socialization of puppies is as important in raising your doggo as feeding, cuddling, playing, and house-training. If you don’t, they’ll never know how to interact with people, other animals, and the outside world.
But if you don’t know where to start with socializing, this post is for you! Let’s begin.
The Socialization Period
The first three months of a dog’s life are also known as the socialization period—- they permanently shape its future personality and determine how it’ll react to its environment as an adult dog.
So, when puppies are young, giving exposure and introducing them to other species will help them become comfortable with the different sights, smells, sounds, and things that they’ll encounter throughout their lives.
Throughout the socialization period, gently expose your puppy to a wide variety of people (children, older people, people on wheelchairs, people with canes, etc), places, and situations.
Moreover, if you’re not adopting, make sure you get your puppy from a responsible breeder. Puppies can start building attachments with their caregiver as early as three weeks of age. If a breeder is harsh towards them, it may result in behavioral issues later. However, a responsible breeder will take care of the pup and be gentle towards it so it develops a positive association with humans.
How to Socialize Your Puppy
So, how do you get started with the socialization of puppies?
Introduce Your Puppy to Everything New
Introduce your puppy to everything— sights, sounds, smells, and everything in between.
For instance, have your little pup walk on carpet, tiles, hardwood, linoleum floors, and even grass. Have it interact with children and older people, and it’ll be even better if they give a treat to your puppy.
Since everything is new, strange, and unusual for your puppy, be careful not to be overwhelming.
Make it positive
At Off-Leash K9, we encourage positive reinforcement and balanced training. Why? Because it helps your puppy associate these new experiences with something fun and treatful.
However, you have to remain calm when introducing your pup to other species and animals since puppies can read your emotions. For instance, when meeting with an older dog, you might feel nervous, which will make your puppy fearful.
The socialization period is very sensitive for the puppy. Any bad experience can become frightening and overwhelming, forcing it to stay in its shell. So, make sure that your pup remains calm and interested in engaging in different activities.
Involve the family
If different people interact with the pup, it will gradually start to become the new normal for it. In other words, the little paws will know that they might experience something new, no matter who it is with.
A good way to increase this interaction is to involve your family— it also helps familiarize the pup with your family and lowers risks of possible aggression towards the family.
Take baby steps
Remember, your puppy is too young to absorb any social pressure. Give it time, trust the process, and avoid doing too much or going too fast. If you want your puppy to get comfortable with being held by multiple people, start with making it comfortable with a few family members first and slowly integrate one stranger, then two, and so on.
You have to start with small baby steps. Taking your puppy straight to a huge party or a very busy public space will not only scare it in that place, but it’ll impact its future personality, too.
Go to Puppy Classes
Once your puppy is comfortable inside the house and accustomed to some of the outside noises, the next thing you can do is take it to the puppy classes. These classes will help your puppy understand basic commands and meet other puppies to socialize with.
Side Note: Have your puppy vaccinated before taking it to any public gatherings!
Socializing your puppy is very important if you want it to grow into a confident and well-adjusted dog that is not frightened by the outside world. But also remember not to go overboard with the socialization process and overwhelm your poor puppy. The process looks a lot like it does with humans— some children are naturally extroverted and willing to socialize, while others are introverted and prefer not to socialize. Either way, you have to be gentle, patient, and consistent with socialization. Soon, your puppy will develop a strong and adorable personality.
Also, if you’re looking for training for your puppy, Off Leash K9 Training offers a puppy training service that’ll help your little furry friend set the foundation for basic obedience. Call us for more info!