How to Socialize a Puppy
How to Socialize a Puppy
The goal of puppy socialization is to create an adult dog that that can be taken anywhere, into any situation, be it a crowded public street, or just for a ride in the car and they will remain calm, peaceful, and confident. Instead of acting the role of a model canine citizen, dogs that were not properly socialized as a puppy will exhibit hyperactivity, fear, aggression, anxiety, excessive barking etc. when introduced to new stimulus.
Properly socializing your puppy benefits both the dog and the owner for the duration of the dogs life. It allows you the ability to take your dog places without having to worry about them barking, snarling, cowering or otherwise embarrassing you or placing undue stress on the dog. It gives you the ability to spend more time together and enjoy that time together be it in public, at the dog park, or on a nice car ride.
The reality is that properly socializing a puppy is not that hard to do, it just takes a little effort on your part. The key to socializing a puppy is to ensure that your puppy is exposed to everything and anything that they may come into contact with during the rest of their life, such as loud noises, strange people, and strange dogs. The most important time is the critical socialization window of between 8 and 16 weeks of age, if your puppy is not exposed to new people and situations during this period, they may grow up always being fearful or aggressive towards new things in the future.
Begin the process of socialization by taking your puppy everywhere. Take you puppy on walks to meet new people and explore the world, this gives them the opportunity to become accustomed a wide variety of things, from car noises, to leaves rustling in the breeze. Invite your friends over to meet your new puppy and ensure that you place your puppy in a sit and give a treat, this teaches them to sit when meeting new strangers and not to jump up on them.
Enroll you puppy in a puppy training class, this will provide numerous benefits for your puppy during this critical socialization window. It allows them to meet new dogs, new people and be exposed to all manner of situations in a structured environment with trained instructors. This is also one of the first steps in making yourself the pack leader and teaching your dog to follow you.
By properly socializing your puppy you create a happy, well balanced adult dog.
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