Introducing your new puppy to the world can be an exciting time. During these first few months, puppies learn what is normal and safe in the big world around them. While it is impossible to expose your pup to everything he or she may encounter over a long lifetime, you can give your puppy enough exposure to the world to teach them that new people, places, and things aren’t necessarily scary.
However, just like children, young puppies learn to trust positive experiences and fear negative experiences, meaning that socializing puppies is an important task.
Do introduce your puppy to as many people as possible.
Puppies need to know that people are generally good. And while your puppy will learn to love and trust the members of your family, it is important to make sure that he or she meets people of all walks of life, if he or she is going to be accepting of all. For example, many clients have expressed their embarrassment when their adult dog reacts negatively to someone of a different skin tone or gender than those in the puppy’s own home.
Don’t overlook everyday people your dog may meet outside of the yard.
One of the biggest mistakes puppy owners make when socializing puppies is that they forget about everyday people their puppy will meet on walks. Mail carriers, delivery drivers, joggers, kids on bikes, and people with wheelchairs shouldn’t be overlooked during puppy socialization.
Do expose your puppy to as many sounds as possible.
Dogs have sensitive hearing, and everyday sounds can be overwhelming. Make sure that you provide positive reassurance when potentially scary sounds occur, including fireworks, vacuum cleaners, door bells, lawn mowers and crying children are near.
Don’t expose your puppy to dangerous noise levels.
Be careful when exposing your puppy to loud machinery, music, or movies, as their hearing can be damaged by loud sounds, just like ours.
Do introduce your puppy to as many friendly animals as possible.
Whenever possible, introduce your puppy to other dogs, cats and pets, including farm animals. Reward your puppy for calm behavior in the presence of other animals, as this can help avoid having an adult dog that chases or lunges at other animals.
Don’t expose your puppy to dog parks or strange animals until your veterinarian agrees.
Most veterinarians will have a preference as to when you socialize your puppy with other dogs at dog parks, based on his or her preferred vaccination schedule. Instead of a dog park, consider enrolling your puppy in a puppy manners class, where proof of age appropriate vaccinations is typically required at the time of enrollment.
If you have any specific questions or concerns about socializing puppies, or if you would like to enroll in a training course, please give us a call. We’re excited to meet your new puppy!