How to Socialize Your Puppy for a Lifetime of Happiness!
29 February, 2016
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When you bring your newly adopted (we hope) puppy home, he is constantly being exposed to new and different stimuli.  Every person, animal and new place that your puppy visits can be exciting for them.  By exposing puppies to different stimuli in a positive way before they develop a fear of these things, it can help build a stronger foundation for your puppy to thrive in his adult years.

When should you start socializing your puppy?

A critical time for your puppy’s learning is from birth to about four months of age. During this time, puppies can absorb a great deal of information, but they are also very vulnerable to bad experiences. Puppies who are not properly exposed to different types of people and other animals can find them very startling or frightening when they do finally encounter them at an older age. They may react by growling, cowering or becoming fearful.

Puppy training classes are a great way to get your puppy started on the right paw!

Attending a puppy training class led by a training specialist gives your puppy an opportunity for socialization with other puppies and with children and adults. Puppy kindergarten classes are offered by some veterinary clinics, dog training facilities, and pet supply stores.

Puppy kindergarten is a safe place to expose your pet to other puppies because vaccination is usually required for all participants. In general, you should avoid taking your puppy to a dog park or other public area until he or she has been properly vaccinated. Exposing your puppy to an infectious disease, such as parvovirus, when his or her immune system is still developing can have devastating results.

You can also start puppy socialization at home:

Just touching your puppy makes him or her become more comfortable

Start by familiarizing your puppy with your touch. Whenever possible, you should handle your puppy’s paws, ears, mouth, and body. Once your puppy is comfortable with being handled, it will be easier for you to trim nails, brush teeth, clean ears, and give medications

Try introducing your puppy to various people and friends

Try to introduce your puppy to people of different ages, sex and races. If your puppy allows it, try letting   other people touch his or her paws, ears, mouth, and body. This will help your puppy be more comfortable with being handled by others at the vet or when getting groomed.

Invite friends and family over to meet your puppy

Invite friends and family to your house. Introduce them slowly if your dog seems fearful and gauge how he or she reacts.  If your dog isn’t fearful, keep them coming!  This will lead to a very social puppy.

Meet dogs for a play date in a safe, controlled environment

Invite safe, friendly dogs to your home. If you have friends who have suitable dogs for your puppy to meet, invite them to come play at your place.  Or take your puppy to a friends’ house and see how he or she does.  Make sure not expose your puppy to any sick dogs as he or she is very vulnerable at this age.

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