So you’ve got a new puppy in the household. If this is your first puppy, you may not be aware of the importance of puppy socialization. What does this term mean? Just as with children, socialization is an important component of making sure your new puppy develops a well-informed perspective of the world and society around him. The result of a good program of socialization is a more relaxed, safe and happy pet that lasts a lifetime. On the other hand, if you simply let the ‘chips fall where they may’, without taking steps to teach him to become accustomed to his normal environment in your neighborhood, he may become overly fearful, or aggressive when confronted with unfamiliar situations. Here we take a look at how you can give your puppy socialization that stands both him, and your household in good stead.
Start Puppy Socialization Early in Life
You should begin his socialization process at an early age, if possible. He’s able to begin accepting new experiences as early as 3 weeks of age. Let’s say you bring your new puppy home at 8 weeks. Now is the time to start!
If you live in a suburban or urban community, he’s bound to run into experiences of loud buses rolling by, children playing in the neighborhood, people on bikes, crowded streets brimming with a variety of people, honking cars – oh, and let’s not forget cats and the mail delivery person! Many other such social situations are mirrored in rural areas.
The More Puppy Exposure, the Better
The more exposure to society you can give your young pup, the better. However, it’s got to be conducted in small doses to begin with, gradually increasing the time spent in each situation gradually, giving him a chance to become accustomed to his society, without fear, discomfort or by developing an aggressive attitude. As your puppy socialization program progresses, he’ll naturally tend to accept the everyday events, people and animals he encounters as familiar, non-threatening experiences that lead to a well-adjusted, happy, relaxed and socialized pet. At the same time, he’ll still retain a healthy amount of suspicion towards unfamiliar situations, such as a prowler around the home – a good characteristic in a dog.
Canine Vaccinations Important
There is one caveat you should bear in mind when implementing your puppy socialization project: until your pup has received all of his vaccinations, there is a risk that he might pick up some diseases or parasites in certain public venues, such as public parks. The solution to this potential problem is easy. Safe socialization activities include taking him for rides in the car through your neighborhood, where he can view kids playing, cycling, or to the local fast food drive-up windows. Other possibilities are play sessions with neighbor’s dogs (those with vaccinations complete) and puppy classes (recommended by many vets) which are conducted in an indoor area, which is kept clean and free of disease dangers.
Don’t discount the seemingly mundane, at-home experiences, such as running the vacuum cleaner, hair dryer, or TV. Kids playing loud music? Remember, everything is new to your puppy!
The earlier you start your puppy socialization program, the more well-adjusted and relaxed your new pet will be in the long run. Be patient, reassuring and start slowly; this is the road to success! Good luck!
Here is a 21 minute canine socialization video from a Doctor::