Socialization is key to ensuring your puppy will grow into a happy, confident and well-adjusted dog. Contrary to popular belief, socializing a puppy is not just about meeting people and other dogs. It’s about exposing your puppy to all the different things he will encounter – people, places and situations – in order to become accustomed to and comfortable with the world around him.
How to Socialize a Puppy
The best time to socialize a dog is during the first three months. During this time, gently and slowly expose him to a wide variety of people, places, and situations. Think of how you will want your puppy to behave as an adult and encourage those behaviors now as you expose him to new things. Allow your puppy to encounter these situations on his terms. Give him time to adjust, allow him to back away if needed, and make note to try this item again. Never push your puppy into a situation that scares or overwhelms him.
Puppy Exposure Check List
Puppies should be exposed to the following things in an encouraging and pleasant manner. Don’t expose your puppy to everything at once. Go slow and follow your puppy’s lead. Support your puppy to give him the confidence he needs to become a brave and well-adjusted dog.
Different Kinds of People
Expose your puppy to all sorts of different kinds of people, including infants, toddlers, older kids, teens, adults and the elderly; men and women; people of different ethnicities and races; large and small people; people with sunglasses; people wearing hoods, hats and backpacks; people carrying umbrellas and canes; people in uniforms, police, medical personal and firefighters; people with crutches; and people in wheelchairs
People Doing Different Things
Expose your puppy to people during various activities, including running, throwing balls, kneeling, lying down or exercising on the floor, standing on chairs or ladders, using tools, sweeping and carrying bags or boxes.
Expose your puppy to all the different animals they may see over their lifetime, including other dogs, dogs that look like your puppy and dogs that look different than your puppy, cats, horses, birds, chickens, goats and wild animals like bunnies and squirrels.
Things That Move
It is important that your puppy be familiar with moving items, such as bicycles, skateboards, running children and animals, kites, cars and trucks, motorcycles and firetrucks, things blowing in the wind, garbage cans on wheels and people shaking out rugs.
Take your puppy to all the places he’s likely to go and will need to be familiar with, including your car, the vet, parks, beaches, boats, shopping areas, busy sidewalks, places you might walk or hike or vacation, and other homes.
It is also important that your pup become familiar with everyday noises like hair dryers, kitchen appliances, vacuums, leaf blowers, lawn mowers, the doorbell, walk-sign beeps, trucks backing up, neighbors in their yards, kids playing, babies crying, storms and fireworks.
Expose your puppy to different surfaces so that he knows not to be afraid of things like grass, gravel, pavement, carpet, shiny floors, stairs, mulch, sand, wet surfaces outside, the bathtub, snow and rain.
Let’s face it, everyone wants to pet a new puppy. Do what you can to make this a pleasant experience for your pup by exposing him to different kinds of handling like vet exams, grooming, brushing and trimming, head pats and invasive interactions such as hugs, people and other animals invading their space, taking toys from them and steeling food.
Socialize at Dog Daycare
A great place to work on socialization is at a doggy daycare. Dogs and puppies get lonely and anxious when they’re home alone all day. Lucky Dog gives them a pack to run with. Our facility has huge indoor and outdoor play spaces for dogs to socialize and play together. You can even watch the fun on our live webcams. Contact us online or give us a call if you are in the Bloomington, MN area and are interested in learning more about our dog daycare and how it can help socialize your new puppy.