The Top 3 Steps for Successfully Socializing Your Puppy
How to Socialize Your Puppy is definitely one of the first questions you’ll try to answer when you adopt one, because this is a vital consideration for healthy development. Socialization and training thus become mandatory, because they mark a very critical and important time in your dog’s development. This means that what you do now or what you don’t do will permanently affect your dog’s behavior, but you don’t have to worry about this too much, because below you’ll be able to learn more about the things you should do to ensure your puppy will develop exactly as you had hoped he would.
1. A Friendly Attitude
You should know that a pup who is properly socialized makes for a good companion and is also well adjusted. It’s neither aggressive nor frightened by anything or anyone it would regularly meet on a daily basis. If your puppy is not socialized, then it’s untrustworthy and as a result, it will become an unwanted liability. Often poorly trained adult dogs enjoy fighting with other dogs, are unpleasant to be around, and are also difficult to train. Because of that, you shouldn’t let this situation happen to your puppy, so start socializing your little friend right now.
2. Stages of Puppy Development
You can’t just dive head first into socializing your puppy, because you’ll first of all need to learn more about how puppies are wired.
A. 7 to 8 weeks: At this age many breeders will wean and release puppies to their new homes. Because puppies are beginning to explore the environment and are also becoming more independent, it’s a great time to adopt them.
B. 8 to 10 weeks: At this age the pup will be fearful for a short period of time and he’ll not only frighten easily, but also stick close to you. To help him get through this hard time, you should keep new experiences at a non-threatening level and also limit noise.
C. 10 weeks: At this age the pup will enter a stage in which he’ll be ready more than ever to explore, but at the same time he’ll also be more inquisitive. It’s a phase that will last until he becomes an adult. On top of that, this is a very appropriate time to consider socializing him and introducing new experiences. However, bear in mind that around 4 to 5 months, some pups will get through a second “fear” period.
3. Meeting New Kinds of People
Because the world is full of many kinds of individuals, you should focus on making your puppy feel comfortable around them. Below you’ll find some of the steps you need to take in this regard, but remember that when he proves the desired behavior, you should always reward him with a treat or some other positive reinforcement.
a. One of the first steps you should take for socializing your puppy involves inviting 1 or 2 quiet friends over on his own home turf for short periods of time. You could ask them to come over for a drink on the patio and request them to scratch your pet’s ears. Your friends should be careful regarding how they’ll greet the puppy, and it’s recommended that crouch down low and allow the puppy to approach them. This way, the puppy will feel safer and approach them on his own time. For the pup, this offers a great sense of control.
b. When your pup has mastered the visits form your friend, you should take him for a dog run or for a walk in the park. However, you should let him decide who he wants to meet and for how long. If your pup is fearful in a situation, you should not force him to continue being engaged in that specific circumstance.
c. Introducing your pup to people of different professions (don’t forget about the postman), ages, ethnic backgrounds, and races is next, and it’s a very important step. Why? Well, in some cases, dogs will develop aversions to individuals who don’t look like their owner and thus, look quite strange to them.
d. After your pup gets comfortable around adults, it’s time to introduce him to children for short periods of time. The visits should of course be supervised, because children can scare puppies through their sometimes rough interactions. If you have no children in your family, you should just put your pup in an environment with pups his age. (You can also call on the assistance of family or friends with children, of course.)
Socializing your pup is a vital step for a healthy development process, one which will make him a better dog and a best friend for life. By getting him familiar from a younger age with different people, situations, and circumstances, he will develop a friendly attitude towards others in the future, an aspect that will certainly be appreciated by you and everyone coming in contact with your dog.