A Puppy’s Guide to Socialization!
Excerpts taken from AKC.ORG - Liz Donovan
For all pups, socialization is a key part to their overall wellness and health! By the time a puppy is 12 weeks old, they should be exposed to an abundance of things. If your puppy is over 12 weeks, have no fear, you can start working on socialization right away. Our goal is to make our dogs comfortable with every person, place, or situation that they encounter!
Please keep in mind that it is your job to make sure all experiences are safe and positive for the puppy. These encounters should include lots of treats and praise and they should have the opportunity to leave the situation whenever they want. You can help them by slowing down, adding distance or walking away entirely if your puppy is scared.
WHY is puppy socialization so important? The idea behind socialization is helping your puppy become acclimated to all types of sights, sounds, and smells in a positive manner. Proper socialization can prevent a dog from being always fearful of children, for example, or of riding in a car, and it will help him develop into a well-mannered, happy companion.
According to the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior, improper socialization can lead to behavior problems later in life. Also, the organization’s position statement on socialization reads: “Behavioral issues, not infectious diseases, are the number one cause of death for dogs under three years of age.”
WHEN to Socialize your puppy? From 7 weeks to 4 months of age, your puppy goes through a socialization period that permanently shapes his future personality and how he will react to things in his environment as an adult. Gently exposing him to a wide variety of people, places, and situations now makes a huge, permanent difference.
HOW to Socialize your puppy?
- Introduce him to new sights, sounds, smells, people, places, textures!
- Make it positive! TREATS & PRAISE GO A LONG WAY!
- Go to puppy classes or puppy play time groups if not fully vaccinated
- Have your friends, family, and neighbors over to meet him!
- Safely introduce him to children and other family or friend’s pets