Socializing Your Puppy!
Socialize, Socialize, Socialize!!!!
PUPPY socialization (first six months) has the most dramatic effect on how a dog turns out.
And here’s something interesting….the most critical period in a dog’s life, psychologically, is the period from 7 weeks old to 16 weeks old.
Now, you wouldn’t think those 9 weeks could POSSIBLY be THAT important, but they ARE.
Puppies should be introduced to as many new people, new environments, new sights and smells as well as other animals as possible during this critical period. Make sure to make it a fun and enjoyable experience. Don’t rush your puppy or dog into situations that they’re clearly not ready for. Pay attention to your puppies stress cues. Baby steps are sometimes necessary. For example try introducing your puppy to one new dog before a whole group of new dogs..work them up to meeting larger groups of dogs.
Never force your pup to approach anyone or anything, let her explore on her own terms, quietly praising and encouraging her when she boldly approaches by herself. When your puppy seems uncertain quietly take her away from the thing that is causing her stress until you have a happy puppy again.Then encourage her to approach at her own rate again.
The No Touch, No Talk, No Eye Contact Rule
Cesar Milan recommends the No Touch, No Talk, No Eye Contact rule when meeting new dogs or puppies. Which means NO attention until your puppy is calm. NOT EVEN EYE CONTACT.
Do not allow your puppy to jump up on or attack people with kisses… as cute as it may be as puppies it won’t be as cute when your puppy is an adult.. Once your puppy or dog is calm then ask your friend to kneel down to the side of your puppy and offer them a toy or a treat. This is the best approach for both involved it is a non-threatening way to approach the shyer puppy and also teaches the more boisterous puppy to calmly approach new people… Not just run and jump on them! Haha!
The more people and dogs your puppy has experience with the better. Socialization is a very lengthy (life-long) desensitization process of exposing your dog to as many new sounds, sights, and situations as possible. You want your dog to view new things as normal, and non-threatening, and to have them approach new situations calmly and without out being overly excited or shy.
The Purpose of Socialization:
Over-excitement, anxiety, fear and hyperactivity are all unwanted reactions in a properly socialized dog.
The desensitization process does not have an ending, it is something that should be continued throughout your dogs whole life.
The Importance of Socializing Your Dog:
Vaccinations and Disease Risk During Early Socialization
Most young puppies aren’t fully protected against the diseases we vaccinated them for until they’ve had all of their puppy shots. This is mainly because the antibodies they get from their mother can interfere with the ability of the vaccine to have its full effect.
Even though puppies’ immune systems are still developing during their first 3 months, if we WAIT until our puppy has had all it’s shots before attempting to socialize them with strangers and new places out of fear of sickness… then we will miss out on THE MOST IMPORTANT STAGE TO DO IT!
The good news is that if you take some commonsense precautions while socializing your puppy, the risk of infection is quite small compared to the much larger risk of your puppy developing serious behavior problems later in life if we decide to wait.
The experts now agree that the risk of a puppy being given up or later euthanized for behavior problems is so huge that young puppies must be socialized before they are done with their vaccinations.
The recommendation is to socialize puppies as safely as possible by exposing the puppy to people, places and other animals while avoiding unnecessary risks.
SO BASICALLY… TAKE YOUR PUPPY TO AS MANY NEW PLACES AS POSSIBLE…. JUST DON’T TAKE THEM TO HEAVY DOG TRAFFIC AREAS LIKE REST STOPS, DOG PARKS, CAMPING GROUNDS, VETS OFFICES WHILE OUT OF THEIR CRATE AND DOG FRIENDLY STORES LIKE HOME DEPOT, PET SMART AND PETCO.
ONCE FULLY VACCINATED…I RECOMMEND YOU TAKE ADVANTAGE OF ALL OF THE ABOVE!
DON’T HIDE THEM AWAY IN YOUR HOUSE UNTIL THEIR DONE WITH THEIR VACCINES OR YOU’LL MISS OUT ON THE MOST IMPORTANT STAGE OF DEVELOPMENT AND SOCIALIZATION.
Safe Ways to Safely Socialize a Puppy Who Is Not Fully Vaccinated
- Drive to a busy mall and hang out with your pup on a mat at the entrance. Strangers will flock to you because they want to pet your puppy and they’ll willingly feed him the treats that you’ve brought with you.
- Host a puppy party! Invite friends and family over, play some music, toss some streamers, and pass your pup around.
- Bring your puppy to indoor Scouts meetings. Supervise the children interacting with him to make sure he’s not frightened by them and they’re being gentle.
- Take your pup on car rides through different neighborhoods, drive-thrus, car washes, and out into the country where he’ll see and smell a variety of farm animals.
- Arrange play sessions with other puppies and adult dogs who you know are healthy and friendly.
- If your puppy is small enough, carry him around town and let strangers pet him and give him treats.
Take your new puppy everywhere you can!!
Arm yourself with treats, and off you go. Take your dog out to walk the streets, let him experience loud cars driving by (safely on leash, of course), people walking past, and the noises of everyday life.