Puppy socialization – how to socialize my puppy

Narrated from: Dog Training

What does puppy socialization mean?

If you are the proud new owner of a cute furry bundle of joy, then you’ve probably heard that you need to socialize the puppy. Socialization is a vital part of any puppy’s training – an unsocialized puppy is bound to become a dog with issues – issues like fear of cars, hostility towards strangers, separation anxiety, and so on.

And these problems are hard to correct in a grown dog – you know the old saying: “Can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”

When should I socialize the puppy?

As soon as possible. A dog socialized at a young age usually grows up into a fine specimen of the canine community. Puppies are easiest to train between four and twelve weeks of age – that is their “childhood”, and they accept new things and learn the rules of life. When the dog is older than 14 weeks, you need to work harder to train it.

Still, during the first few days in which the puppy is introduced to its new home you can go a little softer on the little darling.

How to socialize a puppy

The main technique is simple – you reward the puppy for good behavior. The reward might be a treat, petting, playing with the puppy, and so on. The puppy will be stimulated to repeat the desirable behavior.

When the puppy behaves badly, you must punish it – but punishment for a puppy means to ignore it, or to say stern words as “NO!”, or whatever you choose. Never beat a puppy – this will only make things worse!

Now, here’s how to properly socialize a puppy:

1. Part of the family

The puppy needs to see that now you are its pack. Treating a puppy too harshly will alienate it. It is best to keep the puppy in the house. This will build a strong bond, and besides – the puppy might not be safe in the yard!

2. Self-reliance

Still, if you pay too much attention to the puppy, it might grow into a clingy dog. You need to set a specific area in your home as a “nursery”. The puppy must not be able to leave this area. If the puppy wails when left alone, you must ignore it – otherwise the puppy will learn that by wailing, it can make you pay attention.

3. What to chew and what not to chew

Chewing is important for a puppy. You must leave some comforting objects in the puppy’s “nursery”. The puppy will chew on some of them – this is the equivalent of hand exploration and playing.

If the puppy chews on things that do not “belong” to it, you must punish it – usually a stern “No” and then ignoring the puppy does the trick.

4. Other people

A grown dog that barks at strangers and even attacks them can be a pain in the ass – usually for the strangers! If you like to invite guests, you should get the puppy used to the idea of hanging around unknown people.

Start by inviting guests and allowing the puppy to meet them. Even if the puppy is hesitant at first, it will quickly grow curious and learn how to treat the strange human creatures.

5. Other dogs

It is important to make the puppy tolerant towards other dogs. However, the puppy must meet other dogs only under your supervision. Aggressive or rough-playing dogs can hurt the puppy!

6. New items

You should make the puppy feel comfortable with all the items in your house – but not comfortable enough to chew on them!

So, after the puppy knows the punishment for chewing on your stuff, start introducing it to the different household appliances. You don’t want a grown dog freaking out every time you start the vacuum!

7. Cars

Unknown sounds tend to freak dogs out. Get the puppy used to the sound of an engine running. Start by taking the puppy in your car and starting the engine. After the puppy is more at ease, you can take it along on a shopping trip or a short journey.

You should also make sure that the puppy is at ease with unknown engines too. For instance, take the puppy on a walk to the train station and stop there for several minutes.

8. Trips and other activities

Consider any activity you may have to subject the grown dog to. If the dog can recall a similar experience from the socialization years, then it will be more at ease.

Take the puppy on car trips, on boat trips, to the vet, hitchhiking – anything you can think of!

9. Further training

Generally, the socialization process nears its end once the puppy gets its shots. If you want to further the training, or are displeased with the puppy’s progress, you could hand it over to the professionals. There are special puppy kindergartens, where the puppy will be handled with care and insight.

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