socialize your puppy

Easy Ways to Socialize Your Puppy

Updated 06/07/2022 by Ava Jaine

Socializing your puppy helps them get used to new people, places, sounds, and animals at an early age so they are less likely to have behavior problems later in life.

Learning how to socialize your puppy is essential for proper development.

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When Should I Socialize My Puppy?

The best time to start socializing your puppy is around 10-12 weeks old.

But Wait!  Your puppy needs to be wormed and have their first set of vaccines before socializing with other animals and visiting new places. 

Safeguard your pup from other dogs who are not vaccinated to protect them from dangerous diseases.

After reading through this post, keep this in mind: the ultimate goal is to try to get your dog’s socialization training established before they are 6 months old.

Why Socialize Your Puppy?

So many doggie parents ask me why their adult dog doesn’t like other dogs, barks at people, or panics when an alarm goes off.

Socializing your puppy will help them become familiar with new sounds, smells, and sights in a positive way.

Correctly socializing your pup will prevent them from becoming frightened or timid towards new people or experiences.  Dogs who are not socialized, often become fearful and aggressive later in life.

Fact:  One of the top reasons dogs are surrendered to a shelter is because of behavior problems.

 

My Experience

Confession Time! Our dog, Bastian, wasn’t socialized as a young puppy. 

From the start, Bastian had his den mates, our Dachshund, Reno, and our German Shepherd, Artemus, to play with.

We didn’t reach out and meet other people with dogs because they were so good with each other at home. 

We didn’t realize how crucial it really was for us to take him out and meet other dogs that didn’t live with us.

socialize your puppy
 

Easy Ways To Socialize Your Puppy

Once your puppy has been wormed and received their initial vaccines, it’s a good time to start gradually introducing some new friends and experiences. 

Gently introducing your pup to a variety of people, places, and sounds will make a huge impact on their temperament as an adult dog.

Here are some great tips to help socialize your puppy.

Introduce New Friends

Introduce new people and animals gradually.  Too many new faces all at once can make things scary for your puppy.  Try your best to expose your dog to the following:

People:

  • Young Toddlers /Babies
  • Older Kids
  • Men / Women
  • Adults / Seniors
  • Neighbors
  • Different Ethnicities

Animals:

  • Other Dogs (different sizes)
  • Cats
  • Farm Animals

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 your dog to make the decision if they want to give a sniff or receive a pat on the back.

Make sure young children have help petting your pup. Help them show kindness to keep it safe and positive for both the child and your dog.

socialize your puppy
 

Car Rides

Dogs love car rides. Even if it is just a brief ride to the park or to grandma’s house, allow your dog to tag along. 

New Places To Explore:

  • Park
  • Vacation
  • Dog-Friendly Stores
  • Veterinarian
  • Friend’s House

Motion Sickness: If your dog is prone to getting car sick, try shorter trips in the car and be prepared with some cleanup gear just in case. 

Read more about how to prevent motion sickness in dogs.

Leash Walks

When you hook up your new puppy to a leash, they probably won’t have a clue what to do with it.

Don’t plan on a normal stroll down the street.  This will be a slow, sniff walk. 

Keep your leash walk short and sweet.  Gradually work up to a longer walk as your pup gets used to the leash. 

Be gentle and patient, call to your pup to get their attention, never pull too hard on the leash.

Hold on Tight:  Always secure the leash around your wrist. When your puppy sees another animal, they may try to bolt.

Ask First: If you encounter another dog walker on your path, wait for the other dog owner to confirm if their dog is ok for a meet and greet.

Don’t Push It: If your dog seems scared, don’t force them to meet with the other dog.  Just move them away from each other and walk on.

Introduce New Sounds

Introduce some new sounds to your dog. Turn on the radio while you are home and when you are away.

Gradually introduce the sound of the vacuum cleaner.  Allow your dog to lay in a comfortable spot a safe distance away from the loud sound.

Don’t chase them with it, it isn’t funny, it is terrifying to them.

While playing outside or on walks, listen for the fire engines or a distant passing train.  Allow your dog to listen, stay calm and let them know they are OK.

A great way to help your doxie adjust to new noises is to play the sounds in the background while they are eating or playing. 

Here is an example YouTube video of Soothing Music and Desensitization Sounds For Dogs.

Here are some noises you should introduce to your dog:

Inside Noises:

  • Fire Alarm
  • Microwave Beep
  • Vacuum Cleaner
  • Hair Dryer
  • Door Bell

Outside Noises:

  • Garbage Trucks
  • Fire Truck Siren
  • Cars
  • Thunder
  • Animal sounds
 

Gentle Behavior

Always treat your puppy with kindness.  Keep young children away from your dog if they get too loud and crazy. 

Allow your dog to escape to a safe room when they feel uncomfortable.

socialize your dachshund puppy

Keep It Positive

Whether it is a quick introduction with your neighbor or attending a puppy play date, make sure things stay safe and positive.

If there is ever a situation when your dog acts scared towards another animal, person, or place, don’t force them.

Forcing your puppy into a frightening situation will cause them to become defensive.  When a dog feels threatened, they will defend themselves.

Reward A Good Experience

Attend a puppy class or playdate with your dog and give them a treat afterward.

A verbal “Good” and a yummy dog treat will reinforce that good behavior going forward.

 

Take Your Time

Now, don’t go out and fill your days with social events and loud noises, take it slow. 

Fitting in a couple of these puppy socialization experiences each week will help get your dog where they need to be. 

Overwhelming them with too much all at once will just set them back.

Note: It’s ok if your dog isn’t the neighborhood socialite. Your dog may not want to greet every dog or person around, and that’s totally fine. 

Having them get used to a handful of new faces occasionally will help them be comfortable around others.

Bonus Tip: Get Some Help

If you need some extra help socializing your pup, it’s ok!

I like to recommend K9 Training Institute – It’s online dog training!

They have awesome doggie parent reviews and offer a free training session too. And the best part, it’s online, so you can attend the training from the comfort of your own home.

socialize your dachshund puppy
 

Gradually introducing your puppy to new experiences, while keeping things positive and safe, can help your dog’s socialization improve over time.

What is your biggest struggle with socializing your puppy?  Let us know below.

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