If you recently brought home a new puppy, it’s only natural that you’re excited to introduce the pup to your friends, family, and other dogs. However, there are some things puppy owners need to consider before they begin socializing their puppy with other dogs. It’s important for a dog owner to take advantage of their puppy’s early days to teach them about the world. The best time to socialize a puppy is between 7 and 16 weeks of age.
During this time, puppies absorb an incredible amount of information. The experiences and interactions that your puppy has during this period will shape their likes and dislikes as they grow up. If they have positive experiences with people and animals, they are less likely to be afraid of them later. Conversely, if have a negative encounter with a person or animal during this time period, that isolated encounter is more likely to linger and cause them to be afraid of people and animals.
While it’s impossible to expose your puppy to absolutely everything she will encounter in life, the more things you can cover during the socialization period the better.
Here’s a list of things to do when socializing your puppy, and things to avoid doing when socializing your puppy.
Good Puppy Socialization
You want your puppy to enjoy all the fun and pleasurable elements of dog life. In addition to how your puppy first interacts with other people and animals, their introduction to smells, sights, and noises are also pivotal on how they’ll react to those things later in life. Some tips properly socializing your puppy include:
Many of the things that we recommend for socializing your puppy will require interacting with other dogs and people. It’s imperative that your puppy gets all their required vaccinations at the appropriate times, as both your puppy, other dogs, and the people your puppy interacts with, are at risk if your puppy is not vaccinated.
Meet Other Dogs
Soon after you bring your puppy home, it’s time to start begin their socialization training. After your pup has had his vaccinations, it’s important to expose your him to different dogs. Puppies who are not socialized with other dogs at an early age sometimes never learn to communicate with other dogs. Also, if your puppy doesn’t interact with other dogs they can become scared and aggressive towards dogs later in life.
Control the Environment
When you bring your puppy home, you’ll want to try and get them acclimated to their new home. If your puppies introduction to particular animals, people, sounds, smells, and sights is done in a environment your puppy is comfortable in, the more likely that introduction is going to go well for your pup. Try having people or other dogs come visit your puppy in the comfortable environment your home provides. Once they’ve done that, then you can begin socializing your puppy with other dogs and people outside of your home.
Detect Your Puppy’s Enjoyment
It’s important to keep an observant eye on your puppy while they’re being socialized to new things. Specifically, you want to make sure your puppy is enjoying the introduction. If you detect your puppy is becoming uncomfortable, it’s best to intervene and stop the interaction, and try again another time.
Some of the signs that your puppy is not enjoying the interaction include:
- Puppy is avoiding the thing you’re socializing them to.
- Cowering or clinging close to your side.
- Hiding from people or other pets.
- Tucking their tale.
Bad Puppy Socialization
Not all socialization is productive for your puppy. As we mentioned earlier, if your puppy is exhibiting signs that they’re not enjoying the socialization activity, it’s best to intervene. Other things to avoid during socialization include:
Be Careful Who Interacts With Your Puppy
Make sure that everyone you choose to interact with your puppy knows how to do so in a positive manner. A child that does not have experience with dogs or is unable to hold your puppy should not interact with your puppy. Something as simple as dropping your puppy, which may be done innocently, can have lasting effects on your puppy’s personality in regard to how he behaves around children.
Be careful with loud people as well, as people with loud voices may scare your puppy.
Don’t Be Overprotective
You want to strike a balance between being cautious and not being overprotective. It’s important that your puppy experiences things during their early period of life. You don’t want to bubble wrap your puppy to ensure his safety, as it’ll come back to bite you down the road. You can let your puppy experience a car ride, other animals, different noises, and other people while they’re young without exposing them too much risk.
Pet Insurance For Your Puppy
When you’re socializing your puppy, it’s important that you keep a watchful eye on them. Any time you can reward them during the socializing helps. If your puppy is letting a child pet them, give your puppy a treat afterwards so they have another positive correlation to that behavior.
Another place your puppy will have to visit that will require some socialization is the vet. Many pets don’t like the vet experience — from the drive to the vet’s office, to the strange smells and other animals they meet there. While you’re driving to the vet, talk to your puppy with a calming voice and make sure to give them plenty of love both before, during, and after their vet visit.
Some pet owners, understandably, try to avoid the vet due to the hefty costs that accompany bringing your puppy in. That’s where pet insurance comes in handy. Pet insurance provides pet owners with the freedom to make veterinary decisions without stressing the financial implications. Learn why most vets recommend pet insurance to pet owners.