If you want a happy, healthy and well-behaved dog then you need to start socializing them as soon as possible. The earlier your puppy is exposed to other dogs and people will help them cope with new situations as adult dogs. Let’s take a look at how and when to go about socializing your puppy.
When to Start
You should start socializing your puppy as soon as possible and if you get your dog from a good breeder they understand the importance of socializing and have probably already started the process. You need to gradually expose your pup to different people and situation will help you to have a confident dog who is friendly. Puppies start approaching people from as early as three weeks if that becomes a positive experience it can help your pup learn to behave appropriately.
Why Do You Need to Socialize Your Puppy
Socializing your dog makes them well-adjusted and confident, they are used to being exposed to new people, sights, sounds and smells and will generally react in a positive manner. If your dog is socialized then they tolerate children, friends or even car rides better. You can ward off behavioral problems later like aggression. If something happens and you can no longer look after your dog then you can easily re-home them.
How to Socialize Your Puppy
The breeder will likely start the socialize the dog early, they do this by gently handling the dog and letting them explore the world around them. Once the puppy comes home with you then that is when you really need to make the effort, this is especially true if you live alone. Introduce the pup to new sights and smells and when you do that make sure they are getting positive re-enforcement. You can use small treats to reward them.
Take it slow and don’t try and overwhelm your dog. Start with the members of your household first and gradually introduce strangers. Take them for walks and gradually go to more crowded places, let them smell new things and explore their environment at their pace. Make sure that they have had all of their vaccinations before introducing them to new dogs.
Taking your dog to puppy school is a great idea. Not only can they interact with other dogs but you can teach them basic commands at the same time. Instructors are used to dealing with a variety of dogs and know how to make them feel safe and happy. When you have a well-behaved and confident dog then you have a great companion.