Socializing your puppy means teaching them to be well-behaved around other animals and humans. Socializing helps your puppy be comfortable in new environments and keeps them confident in new situations. With all the excitement around a new puppy, it can be hard to tone things down and know what to do with the puppy when you first bring him home!
Dog experts underline that there could be behavior problems later because of improper socialization at the early stage. The idea behind socialization is that you want to help your puppy become acclimated to all types of sights, sounds and smells in a positive manner. Proper socialization can prevent a dog from being fearful of children or riding in a car or being around other dogs and it will help him develop in to a well-mannered, happy companion
Method to socialize your puppy
The best method is to begin the socialization process after the first few days of life by allowing the puppies to explore and feel the surroundings. The process continues when the puppy comes to your home.
- Introduce the puppy to new things: Just like a baby, the whole world is the place for exploration to the puppy. So, the more it gets introduced to new tastes, sounds, and sights is better. Try to take him different locations where it meets different types of people, places, textures, smells, and noises. Try to give various types of homemade food for puppies. Walk on different surfaces like carpet, tiles, hardwood, synthetic floors.
- Take baby steps: Try to avoid doing to much too fast. For instance, if you want your puppy to get accustomed to being handled by multiple people he does not know, start with a few family members and slowly integrate one stranger, then two and so on. Starting this process by taking your puppy to a huge party or a very busy public place can be overwhelming and result in a fearful response to a group of strangers in the future.
- Introduce him to different people: You must take the puppy to different people. For example, kids, elderly people, people in a wheelchair or using a cane, people with different faces, wearing swimming costumes, people in uniforms, people wearing sunglasses or helmets. It gives an immense learning experience to the puppy.
- Dog to Dog Training – Socializing your Puppy: One dog or puppy is never enough and if you’re introducing your new puppy to an older dog, the prospect can be daunting. Much like your puppy is settling into his new home, your older dog may feel that he has been intruded upon with his new ball of fluff!
Introduce your older dog to your new puppy in a more neutral location like a yard. Let them sniff and smell each other as this is the best way for them. Once the older dog understand that the puppy isn’t a threat, they usually settle into the role of an older sibling and play and enjoy the puppy.
- Make it Positive: Most importantly, when introducing all of these new experiences to your puppy, make sure he is getting an appropriate amount of treats and praise, so that he associates what he is being exposed to and the feeling of seeing something new as a fun experience.
- Move slowly: When you shift the dog from Dog Food Homemade to packed food, do you make the change overnight? No, you do not. In the same manner, try to avoid doing too must too fast. Your puppy will get accustomed to different people slowly. It could be a fearful and disturbing experience for him to take the puppy to a party or on a beach full of people. Expand the amount of experience gradually. It will adjust the puppy to new situations.
- Take help from professionals: If you do not have sufficient time to socialize your puppy, then you should seek the help of professionals. Puppy classes not just teach him the basic commands, but also expose the puppy to different people and dogs. Skilled trainers make sure that the puppy is safe and comfortable during the process. They introduce the dog to situations with increasing order of difficulty. Thus, the learning curves become smooth.
What about Older Dogs?
All this information on how important socialization is for puppies brings up the question “What about older dogs?” If you have acquired a dog who is no longer a puppy, you can still help him associate new or fearful situations with a positive experience, even though you have missed the crucial ‘Puppy-Socialization’ period. Slowly reintroducing the dog to new sights, smells and sounds, with careful supervision and an emphasis on positivity in the form of praise and treats can help him overcome his fears or hesitations.
All your efforts will bear fruits and the puppy will show incredible social skills. You are a responsible dog owner who takes responsibility for the dog’s life. Therefore, you train him with the best social skills.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.