To socialize a puppy means to teach them to be a part of society. It’s about making them feel comfortable in our world- with all of its different types of animals, people, environments, sights, sounds, smells and other dogs. Puppies naturally become accustomed to the everyday things that they come into contact with, until they get a bit older and begin to become suspicious of things that are new and different to them.
Why Is Puppy Socialization Essential?
Puppies that have learned socialization generally develop into safer, more pleasant adult dogs. This is due to the fact that they are more at ease in a wider array of circumstances than dogs that haven’t learned socialization. This means they are not as inclined to behave in a fearful or aggressive way when they are confronted with a new experience. Wouldn’t you rather your dog be relaxed when it comes to situations like going to the vet, being around cats, bicycles going by, and being in a crowd? Dogs who have been well-socialized are much more at ease, happy and peaceful than those who feel continually on edge from the world around them.
How Do You Socialize a Puppy?
To a puppy, everything in the world is new. Begin by introducing your puppy to new smells, sights and sounds. The idea is to come up with as many different types of experiences and expose your puppy to them. For example, have him walk on all types of different flooring.
Have him meet several different types of people, such as one using an umbrella, one with a beard, one in a wheelchair and so on. Look at the world with new eyes like your puppy is and try to show him everything that is new and different.
During this process, be sure to keep things positive. To do this, be sure to give him praise and plenty of treats. The idea is to make socialization a fun event.
Be sure to involve the whole family in the process. When you have different people taking part, this lets your puppy know that he might experience something different, no matter who he is with.
Don’t overdo it. For example, if you want your puppy to get used to being held by different people, allow a few close family members to hold him. Instead, if you were to take him to a big party and pass him around to everyone, he would likely be fearful of strangers down the road.
Once he has experienced several things around your home, try taking him out in public. You could take him to a friend’s house, or to the pet store, or to a dog-friendly restaurant perhaps.
What If My Puppy Is Fearful?
Sometimes puppies will find a new experience to be frightening. Whenever this occurs, it is important that next time you introduce him to the situation in a much more gradual way. It will also be helpful right after you reintroduce him to the experience, that you do something that your puppy loves to do.
Attend Puppy Classes
Another great way to socialize your puppy is to send him to puppy classes. You can do this after he has started his vaccinations. Puppy classes are a perfect way to help your dog begin to learn basic commands, however they are also a great way for your puppy to socialize with other dogs and people.