Puppies are cute and fun when they come to live with us but they don’t know a lot about living in the human world. They have spent the first few weeks of their lives living with their mothers and brothers and sisters. It’s up to you to teach your puppy what he needs to know about scary objects such as vacuum cleaners; how to behave with other people; and meeting other dogs. All of these lessons are part of the socialization process. Puppies who are properly socialized grow up to be happy, confident adult dogs and have fewer behavior problems later in life.
Socialization at home
You should start some of your puppy’s socialization at home by showing him there is nothing to fear from common household objects such as TVs, stereos, vacuum cleaners, and other things that make noise. Many puppies have never encountered these items before so you should introduce them slowly at first. Leave a TV or stereo on in the background so your puppy gets used to the sounds. Let your puppy investigate the vacuum cleaner when it is turned off and show him that it won’t eat him. Encourage your puppy to explore your home and if he finds something that seems to frighten him, take time to let him examine it. Your attitude is always crucial for your puppy. You should be encouraging and upbeat. Do not be too coddling with your puppy or you will convince him that there is really something to fear. The entire objective is always to help build your puppy’s confidence.
Socialization with people and other dogs
You can socialize your puppy by taking him to places where he will encounter some friendly people and dogs. You should only do this after your puppy has received his vaccinations so he will be protected from diseases. You can take your puppy to parks where dogs are allowed on leash. Take plenty of treats with you so you can give some to people who stop to pet your puppy. You can teach your puppy to sit before he is petted, then have a friendly person give him a treat and pet him. Puppies who spend some time this way generally enjoy meeting friendly strangers.
If your puppy meets some friendly dogs this way, be sure he remains on his leash and that the other dog is leashed, too. Do not allow your puppy to run up to other dogs or jump on them. Some adult dogs do not like puppies and they don’t like to have other dogs jump on them. Teach your puppy to have good manners when meeting other dogs. Always ask an owner if his dog is friendly and if he wants to meet your puppy. This will prevent your puppy from being injured.
You can also take your puppy to a pet supply store where dogs are welcome, or hang out in the parking lot at one of these stores. You will find lots of pet lovers at these stores who will be happy to pet your puppy and give him treats. This is a good way to socialize your puppy and have him meet friendly people.
Training classes are another great way to socialize your puppy. There are some special training classes for young puppies called puppy pre-school or puppy kindergarten classes. These classes are often offered by pet stores, local kennel clubs, animal shelters, and dog training centers. You can usually find some in your area. They are a good way to gather puppies and their owners together so they can socialize and learn a few basic manners. They are also lots of fun for puppies. They are highly recommended. If you and your puppy take one of these puppy pre-school classes, it is usually easy to move right into a basic obedience class afterwards.
Socialization is very important for all puppies. It teaches them about the world and how to interact with people and other dogs. The more they see about what’s outside their home, the more confident they will become. Confident puppies are less likely to experience problems with separation anxiety, excessive barking, destructiveness, and other problems related to being nervous and anxious later in life.