Congratulations, you got a puppy. Everyone is excited. You got the crate, the bed, the toys, the puppy food, the treats and you started checking out trainers. However, one of the most forgotten about things that dog owners forget to do is the socialization. What is dog socialization? Many times new puppy owners think it is just the socialization of dog with other dogs or other people. However dog socialization means more than that.
There are a couple of things to remember. You don’t want to force your dog to meet other people or other dogs so read your dogs body language and the situation. If your dog isn’t comfortable, let it be and walk away. It’s better to walk away then to have your dog build a fear to something. Forcing them can actually make it worse. Yes, socialization of your puppy with strangers (men, women, children of all ages) is important but let them make the choice.
Socialization also means introduction to new experiences, new sounds, new textures, new sights. So traveling in the car, visits to the vet, seeing you wearing sunglasses (yes you wearing sunglasses) or wearing different hats or backpacks that they wouldn’t normally see, the list goes on, is incredibly important in the first 4 months. More specifically from week 8 to week 12.
Weeks 8 to 12 are when they absorbing all of the experiencing, being curious and going through their habituation. This period is when they are most “open” to all different kinds of experiences. After 5 months, it becomes more difficult to get them to be open to lets say a bearded man if they never met a bearded man before. It can be possible for them to fear them. Some people may think the family and multiple dogs in one house is enough socialization but the more socialization a dog gets, the more open they will be. I like to tell clients introduce them to 3 new things a week.
If you have more questions on socialization, please feel free to reach out.