Puppies are like sponges. They spend the first months of their lives picking up new information about the world and their place within it. The first 17 weeks is vital to teach your dog what you expect and to prevent them from picking up bad habits that are incredibly difficult to remove later on once they’ve settled into their patterns. Early socialization “introduction to anything living” allows puppies to accept things that they experience as a pleasant encounter, while growing wary of more negative experiences. New puppy owners should expose their puppies to a wide range of new and different experiences to ensure that their new additions do not need to associate “new” with “scary”. Carry your puppy prior to your puppies first vaccinations while introducing your dog to new people and pets. Once their first vaccination is complete they are now ready to fully socialize with other puppies and adult dogs who have been fully vaccinated.
Every puppy and breed is different, but once the window of opportunity closes, it closes hard and fast and there’s a long hard road ahead for new puppy owners to introduce adolescent dogs to new experiences. Owning an improperly socialized dog can lead to negative and potentially aggressive tendencies, and these habits are extremely hard to break once they’ve set in. Socializing your puppy is not a guarantee that all negative behavior patterns will be avoided, but it is a good indication of a well-adjusted, well-rounded puppy that will grow into a more socially aware adult dog.
Puppy socialization can be as simple as taking your dog on many new, varied adventures where there are other people and/or animals. They may seem mundane to you as an owner, but every new experience is an adventure in the works for your new puppy. Go for walks in different places and explore your neighborhood dog parks. Most importantly, make sure that they’re introduced early on to people of all ages and other animals – especially in a home that may introduce a new pet later on. Be multicultural and spread species lines. If your puppy is introduced to cats in its young life, it’s much less likely to behave aggressively towards cats later on. The same is true for other dogs of varying sizes and animals in general, as well as people.
Puppy socialization is often as simple as providing a lot of of different experiences, with different people and/or animals and letting your new dog associate these experiments with positive memories and reward. Socializing a new dog can be a challenging yet worthwhile experience, but if you need a few new tips or tricks or assistance, feel free to contact us.