Most people know that socializing your dog is important, but some are not sure when to start and the reasons why. But let’s pause and describe what we mean by dog socialization. Through healthy socialization, you acclimate your dog to the sights, smells, sounds and environment around them. That includes interactions with humans (children and adults) and other dogs!
Now, why is it important to do this when your dog is a puppy? We disagree that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks; however, socializing a dog as a puppy can prevent them from developing anxiety, fear or aggression towards the everyday world around them. For example, if you shelter your dog in your home for the first year of their life, it is likely and expected they would be hesitant and possibly afraid of taking a car ride. Simply because they have never had the experience and have no idea what a car is or what to expect!
It is recommended to engage your puppy in a vast variety of socialization during the 7 weeks to 4-month period of their growth. This period of time is vital to shaping their personality and behaviors as an adult, into a well-mannered and happy companion! Conversely, improper socialization can breed bad behaviors and deep seeded fear or anxiety that will become difficult to correct later.
So, what are the best ways to socialize your puppy? Not to toot our own horn, but dog daycare is a GREAT way to socialize your puppy to all different breeds, ages, personalities and sizes of other dogs. Visit our website (https://dogthrive.com/daycare/) for more information about our indoor/outdoor dog daycares and your dog’s first day/temperament test is FREE! But socialization can be accomplished through regular dog walks, dog park visits or even community events or pet stores. Any way to enable your puppy to experience new furry friends is a good thing. But take it slow of course, socialization is more of a marathon, than a sprint. Also, reinforce positive behavior with proper amounts of treats and affection. Always follow your dog’s cues, as you want them to have enough of an experience to get acquainted but not too long to be worn out and overdone. Don’t forget to socialize your puppy to humans and the rest of our big wide world! Let them experience children, adults (men and women), people dressed differently, urban environments, all types of vehicles, places, sights and smells. Remember to stay calm and confident if your puppy gets skittish or scared of a new experience and don’t make a big deal about their fearful behavior. Of course, professional training and puppy classes are of huge benefit as well! Properly socializing your dog during the impactful and molding puppy stages will greatly influence having a happy and healthy furry best-friend, throughout their adulthood.