Why socialize a puppy? People will wonder why they should be socializing their puppy, who with and how. Should you socialize your puppy with other dogs? Other animals? Other people? Children? The Postman?
YES TO ALL!
And it is a very important yes. Your puppy needs to be socialized to the big bad world and to its many weird and wonderful creatures. Your puppy is young, naïve and impressionable. What they see and learn now will stay with them in to adulthood and you need to do your best to make sure they are prepared.
Teaching them to interact with other dogs, animals, people will be in their best interests, they will know what to expect, how to behave and most of all be friendly when around them.
Below we are going to discuss how to socialize your puppy safely so it won’t scare them and take your training a step or 2 back.
Friends and Family
This is a perfect way to get your puppy to socialize with other people. If you live with a partner and/or children you will already have a head start in this department as your puppy will be interacting with other people in the house already.
If you live on your own don’t worry. Invite friends and family over to meet your new friend. Remember not to have too many at once as it can be overwhelming, which may lead to scaring your puppy or an accident occurring on the floor or your friends leg if they get all excited.
Instruct your friends to ignore your puppy if they are running in to them and jumping all over them as they first enter your house. Your puppy is looking for attention and if your friends react then this will lead to them thinking it is o.k. to carry out this behaviour once they are older and you will end up with a big dog jumping all over your guests as soon as they walk in the house.
Once your puppy has calmed down then your friends will be able to interact with them. This will teach your puppy to wait for attention and not pounce on guests as soon as they arrive. You are training your puppy to be calm and respectful and then they will get attention and treats.
Allow your guests to handle your puppy, stroke them and feed them treats. This will train your puppy to be calm around strangers touching them and not to become frightened and react in a bad way.
This is a good way to get your puppy to interact with all kinds of people who are out and about in the streets. Most people will come over to a puppy and want to give them attention, everyone loves puppies.
Do the same with strangers in the street as you would with your friends and family, allow them to interact with your puppy, stroke them and maybe feed them a treat so they know they are safe. Your puppy will be that distracted with everything around that they probably won’t pounce on a strangers but if they do the same rules apply, tell the stranger to ignore your puppy until they are calm, then they may interact with them.
Now this is a hard one and a very important one. Your puppy needs to know how to interact with children for when they are older but children also need to know how to interact with your puppy too. If you have a few children crowding round and screaming and shouting they will definitely become scared and could react in a bad way or scare them a lot that they will go in their shell and it’ll be difficult for you to get them back out.
The best way to start this is to get your puppy meeting children you know. Friends children, children of extended family, children in your street. Again same rules apply as above but you need to be wary that neither get too excited. And you should always keep a close eye on your puppy around children (and dog when they are fully grown).
Teach the children how to handle and stroke your puppy and how to give them treats. This is an important in the training as children will react differently to adults when around dogs so you need to be prepared for this. They can also tease them which you need to put a stop to straight away, although it might look like fun or playful it can stress your dog out and you don’t want that.
Children you meet out and about will need the same instructions and you need to take care that they listen to you when they interact with your puppy. Keep the meeting brief and move on, they should only interact with each other for short spells.
Again look to people you know with dogs who are friendly. When your puppy is too young to go outside (before their 2nd vaccination) it can be difficult to socialize them with other dogs.
How do you socialize a puppy before they get their shots? With Care and caution.
You can socialize your puppy with other dogs before their 2nd vaccination you just need to be careful when you do so. It is best at this stage to use people with dogs you already know and you know they are healthy and up to date with all of their vaccinations. And that they are dog friendly, you don’t want your dogs first meeting with another dog to be a traumatic one and then your socialize training will take a step back and you will end up with a shy and timid puppy who won’t socialize or worse, a puppy that will grow up in to an aggressive dog.
You should socialize with other dogs on neutral territory. Dogs are very territorial and bringing another dog in their territory may not be welcomed.
Find a local field or another friend or family members garden and interact the 2 dogs there. Allow the dogs to mix with each other and play together, this will be a fun time for both dogs. Again take care on the time that they spend together, especially if you socialize your puppy with an older dog who isn’t as hyper. They may start to get annoyed and agitated by the puppy they could lash out, not in a vicious way, just to warn them off but you don’t want to end the meeting on bad terms as this will be remembered.
Local dog parks are a great way to meet dogs once your puppy is out and about. Ask the other dogs owner if they are friendly and can you bring your puppy over. Don’t let your puppy drag you over, this will show them they get what they want by pulling and we don’t want them getting in to this habit.
You take them over, let them interact, smell each other and play. Again make this a brief meeting, you can always go back later, and take your puppy on their way. If your puppy is coping well and behaving, treat them.
One of the best places for socializing and extra help with training is training classes. Here you will meet a wide variety of dogs and dog owners. You and your puppy can socialize and you can pick up extra tips and tricks for training your puppy by the instructor and other owners.
You will need to pay for these, usually a small weekly fee or some will charge a package deal of say 12 weeks. These places will check the vaccination papers of the dogs there so you know they are safe for your puppy. It is best to look up training classes in your area and pick a few out, make contact with them and ask if you can go down on your own without your puppy to check it out. This will give you an idea of what the place is like and whether you want your puppy to go there.
If your puppy if still in potty training, remember to take bags with you and keep a close eye on them as you never know when they will want to go.
Now as we know they are a wide variety of animals out and about. Your puppy will probably meet a lot of these when they are out on walks. Depending on where you live you can come in to contact with anything from a cow to a kangaroo, a horse to a duck.
You need to take care when around these with your puppy. They can go over to the fence (if the animal is fenced off) and be nosey, but that is the closest you want to allow them. You will not know how either will react and you just want them to ease their curiosity, not allow them to go running around them.
Your puppy should be kept on the leash at all times during these meetings and they should be kept very brief, just kill the curiosity and walk on. They will learn not to bother them and carry on with their walk, especially if you reward them with a treat as they leave the other animals alone.
I hope you enjoyed this post regarding socializing your puppy and found it helpful.
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