Updated 01/15/2021 by Ava Jaine
Why Socialize Your Puppy?
Socializing your puppy will help them become familiar with new smells, sights, and sounds in a more positive way. Dogs who are not socialized at the correct age often become more Fearful and Aggressive towards others. The best time to socialize your dog is between 10-16 weeks old. Later is Too Late!
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NOTE: Wait to do your socialization training when your new pup is a couple of months old, has been wormed, and had a few of his first vaccines to protect him from dangerous diseases.
Unfortunately, our dog, Bastian was not socialized as a puppy. When he was a new pup, Bastian had his fur brothers, our dachshund, Reno, and our German Shepherd, Artemus to play with. They were his dog pack family.
We didn’t make an effort to go out and meet other people with our dogs because they were so good with each other at home. We didn’t know how crucial it was for us to take them out and play with other dogs that didn’t live with us.
So, when we brought home our new puppy, unfortunately, a now much older Bastian was not happy about the new addition to the family.
Did you know that one of the Top Reasons dogs are surrendered to a shelter is because of behavior problems?
Tips for Socializing Your Dog
Once your dog has been wormed and received his initial vaccines from the vet, it’s a good time to start introducing some doggie friends. The best time to socialize your puppy is between 10-16 weeks old. Here are some great tips to help your puppy socialize with other dogs.
Reward For Good Experiences
1. Introduce Gradually
Introduce new animals and people gradually. Too much exposure to can cause your dog to become overwhelmed and cause him to be nervous or scared around others. Plan small doggie play dates and introduce your new pup to your neighbors. It is important your neighbors get to know your dog in case they get loose and wander into their yard.
2. Get Down To Their Level
When people are introducing themselves to your dog, ask them to get down to the dog’s eye level and let the dog approach them slowly. This allows the dog to make the decision if he wants to sniff their hand or allow them to pet his head.
Make sure young children have help petting your dog. Sometimes being gentle doesn’t come naturally to kids. Help them understand kindness and respect towards your dog so they become friends.
3. Car Rides
Take your dog on car rides. Whether they are a brief ride to the park or to grandma’s house, allow your dog to tag along. Dogs love bye-bye rides.
When you are leaving the house, give your dog a command so he knows where he is going. “Time for a bye-bye ride”, etc… They will quickly love this command and associate it with going on a trip with you.
If your dog tends to be prone to getting car sick, try shorter trips in the car and be prepared with some cleanup gear in case.
Make sure your dog is safe and secure in the car for the ride. You can have them in their small travel crate, sit them on a passenger’s lap, or you can even buckle them up in a dog car seatbelt.
4. Walks On A Leash
When you first hook up your new pup to a leash, he probably won’t have a clue what to do with it. He needs to learn that he is safe and secure on the leash. Don’t pull too hard on the leash, this can hurt your dog’s neck, Be Gentle.
Also, always secure the leash around your wrist. When a dog sees another animal, they may try to bolt.
If you encounter another dog walker on your path, you can let the dogs sniff each other if they seem friendly enough, but keep in mind not all dogs are friendly. If your dog seems scared, don’t force them to meet with the other dog.
Just move them away from each other and hold on tight in case of an aggressive encounter.
5. Introduce New Sounds
Introduce some new sounds to your dog. They love to hear the radio, as long as it is at a reasonable volume.
When its time to clean the house, introduce your dog gradually to the sound of the vacuum cleaner. Allow them to lay in a nice comfortable spot a safe distance away from the loud sound. Obviously, don’t chase them with it, it isn’t funny to them, it is terrifying.
While playing outside or on walks, listen for the fire engines or a distant passing train, allow them to listen and let them know they are ok.
6. Gentle Behavior
Always treat your pup with kindness. They depend on you, their loving owner, to love and protect them. Keep your young children away from the dog if they are too rough or making the dog nervous. Allow your dog to escape and find a safe place to hang out when your roughhousing nieces or nephews come to visit.
Now, don’t coddle your dog too much, they are allowed to have their own unique experiences, just keep watch and keep them safe. Keep socialization experiences safe and positive. One bad experience is hard to erase from any dog’s mind.
7. Don’t Force A Scared Dog
If there is ever a situation when your dog acts scared towards another animal, person, or place, don’t force them. Dogs have a special intuition that allows them to keep themselves guarded against others. It may be just a new face to them. Allow them to make the decision to want to allow a friendly introduction or just skip it.
Forcing your dog into a frightening situation will cause them to become nervous and skittish. They could possibly develop harsh instincts like biting or warning others when they feel threatened. When they are actually threatened in any way, yes, they need to defend themselves, but biting a stranger or a guest that visits your home will become a problem.
8. Reward A Good Experience
When a child does a good deed like behaving in the grocery store, it is a great opportunity for the parent to reward the child and continue that good behavior going forward. Well, the same is true for your Dog.
Reward your pup for a good puppy play date experience. If they got along with the other dogs, give them a treat on the way home. This positive behavior is an incentive to continue being an obedient dog.
Did you know that it can cost thousands of dollars in vet and behaviorist fees to fix the problems caused by a lack of early socialization?
To raise a well-behaved puppy, it takes lots of love, care, and patience.If you work at being consistent with rules and routines with your new pup, in a couple of months, you will have a well-established relationship with your dog.