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Have you just arrived home with a puppy? Are you thinking that you want a puppy but you are not sure about the basics? Wondering if you are doing it right with your puppy? Thinking on how socializing a new puppy should be done? Well, let’s find out.

Usually, when we get a new puppy we always take into account food, toys, vaccines, must-have accessories like a bed, id tag. But, we usually forget a major factor: puppy socialization. Indeed, sometimes we only realize how important socializing your puppy is once it is too late…for instance once our now grown dog gets into a fight. Thus, to put it shortly, socializing your new pup is critical since you have a short window of opportunity and under-socialized pups often grow up to be fearful, reactive and sometimes even aggressive, making it harder to live with. So if you are looking to avoid futures headaches due to lack of socializing your new puppy, this was made for you.

What is Pup Socialization?

To put it briefly, when we talk about socialising your puppy, it invoke the learning process they go through in order to learn key life lessons and skills which insure your pup’s happiness, confidence and development in their environment. This involves exposing your little four-legged companion to various situations, places and people to make sure that they learn how to build relationships and properly communicate with their surroundings. As foretold, undersocialized puppies often grow up to be dogs with behavioural problems such as anxiety, fear and sometimes even, aggressively. As a matter of fact, behavioural problems are the main reason people abandon their pets at shelters. According to ASPCA, 47% of re-homed dogs came into the shelter at first due to attitude problems. Hence, as you can imagine, socializing your puppy is of utmost importance.

socialization problem in dogs

When should I socialize my puppy?

Just like humans, dogs learn more easily and faster when there are puppies. Thus, most experts agree that socialization is most critical for young dogs from 4 weeks to 4 months. However, maintaining your dog’s socialization is a life-long process and you’ll have to make sure that they continue to communicate regularly with their peers. Indeed, your pup needs to be exposed by various different situations and surroundings.

Proper socialization is accomplished by gradually allowing your dog to investigate different looking people, children, environments, objects, and dogs. . Additionally, it is critical that puppies be exposed to new stimuli on a voluntary basis and not forced to interact with beings or objects they might be afraid of.

As stated, between 4 to 12 weeks, puppies are most influenced by their littermates and people. They’re learning how to play, social skills, inhibited bite, social structure and physical coordination. They are also grasping how to see and use ranking (dominant vs. submissive) within their pack and pet parents. You’ll find here below what are the different stages in puppy socialization during that period:

  • From 4 to 6 weeks: they’re most influenced by their littermates and are learning about being a dog.
  • From 3 to 5 weeks: Puppies are becoming aware of their surroundings, companions (dogs and people) and relationships, including how play to.
  • From 5 to 7 weeks: They develop curiosity and desire to explore new places and experiences. They need positive attitude experiences from people during this time.
  • From 7 to 9 weeks: they’re refining their physical skills/coordination (including housetraining) and full use of senses.
  • From 8 to 10 weeks: they can experience fear. It is important to have a positive training when normal objects and experiences alarm puppies, in order to avoid any strange behaviour later on.
  • From 9 to 12 weeks: they’re refining reactions, social skills (appropriate interactions) with their brothers and sisters and are exploring the environment, spaces and objects. They are beginning to focus on people. Which also means that this is a good time to begin training.

Puppy socialization tips

Are you familiar with the term “puppies party”? Well, these past few years, once it was acknowledge the importance of early socialization, pet parents started to gather their pooch and invite people and dogs to interact calmly and securely with each other. Hence, the terms “puppies party” and “puppies socials”.

To grow up and be able to communicate properly your puppy needs to met and play with many different people. Since a big variety of experiences while being a puppy will make them grow up confident and flexible to different kind of situations. Thus, during puppies’ party, at first you should invite a couple of friends but not any friends! You should invite calm and serene friends that you can trust to be gentle and soft with your little furry ball. As time goes by, you can invite your more clamorous friends, small children and larger groups to meet your new family member. They should also be exposed to many different noises and moving objects but always keeping a positive attitude and monitor your puppy’s comfort level. Since we don’t want the puppy to get scared!

Moreover, it is important that your new puppy socializes with their kin on regular basis. Keep in mind that if you want to present an adult dog to your puppy, they should be calm and be up to date with their vaccines. At first, while socializing, your puppy and the adult dog should be leashed at all times. Though, not all adults dogs are OK around strange puppies, so choose carefully!

Lastly, remember that the entire point of socializing a new puppy is that they do not grow up being fearful nor aggressive dogs but rather joyous, confident and trust-worthy. Hence, make sure all experiences are safe and positive for the puppy. Each encounter should include treats and lots of praise. Don’t force them to make an encounter, since over-socializing is a thing. Let them take their time in making a new friend, at first, slowly though. Patience is a virtue.

pup and dog socialization

Takeaway

The best way to socialize a new dog, is to take it out into the world and expose it to new experiences. Unfortunately, many pet parents think that keeping the new puppy confined to a small space like a house, will not only protect them from any danger but it will also help them get used to its surroundings and develop a better attitude. This advice is completely wrong! Confining a dog to a small space will make it feel more anxious and stressed. The dog will become more aggressive and start to chew everything in site. Who would like to grow up confined in four walls, right..?

Socialization in puppies is a key element for them to grow up to be a balanced, happy and confident dog. The more people and animals your dog interacts with when young, the more they will feel comfortable around them in the future.

It’s never too early to begin socializing a new dog. Although, socialization should be done when they are puppies, this can also be done once they are older. However, even though teaching an old dog new tricks is possible, it will take more time to do so.

Now that you know how important socializing your new puppy is, don’t forget though that it is also a lifetime necessity to avoid any behavioural problems! Lastly, training your new puppy is also a great way for them to learn every day communication, so if you are looking on how to potty train your new furry bay, we invite you to read our Potty Training eBook by clicking here.

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