Guidelines for Socializing Your Puppy
When and how you go about socializing your puppy are both very important. Proper socialization will provide a foundation for your puppy to have trust and adaptability in the world in which he resides. As detailed in Puppy Socialization there is a limited window of opportunity when it comes to dogs learning about the world and feeling safe in it. Equally important is the positive nature of the puppy’s experience.
Dog’s have the unique capacity to bond with two or more species at the same time. The vast majority of animals learn about their own species and no other. When socializing your puppy they need to be introduced to a wide variety of people, other animals, sight and sounds.
Socializing to people
It is important to socialize your puppy to a wide range of people including men and children. Meeting a variety of people will teach your puppy that people come in a wide range of categories. If not the puppy will form a narrow idea of what a human face looks like and will act fearfully when seeing a “new” human. Puppies that come from puppy mills and pet shops often will have very limited human exposure and be quite fearful. A great place to start introducing new people would be to invite friends and family over to meet the new puppy.
Socializing to other dogs puppies
Socializing your puppy to other puppies and dogs will help him gain trust and social skills with other canines. It’s very important that the experiences are positive so choose carefully who your puppy is introduced to especially with adult dogs. The safety of your home once again may be a good choice. I’d highly recommend that you do not take your puppy to a dog park, pet store or any location where many dogs and puppies have been to previously. You run the risk of your puppy picking up diseases. Wait until your puppy has all of their shots (plus 8-10 days for the immunity to have fully built up) and they have had a chance to develop a immune defence to the common puppy viruses.
Socializing to other animals
When socializing your new puppy it will be helpful for them to be exposed to a broad range of animals. Introducing a puppy to cats is a good idea since at some point in time they will likely cross paths. Here again, be careful which cat. I’d suggest a de-clawed cat so you puppy is not harmed and becomes frightened.
Socializing to sights and sounds
In the modern world that your puppy will live they will be exposed to many inventions of man;
Dishwashers, motorcycles, vacuum cleaners to name a few. Exposure to a variety of new sights and sounds will help your puppy become comfortable when encountering novel experiences.
Quality of the environment
The general overall environment that a puppy is brought up in is very important. Puppies that are brought up in chaotic unstable environments can fail to assimilate information with which they are assailed, overwhelmed and can grow into anxious dogs. A calm peaceful home will go a long way towards helping your puppy feel safe and relaxed.
Just recently have we understood that puppy’s experiences as early as soon after conception, up until about four months of age are critical in affecting their character. Even a dog with the wrong start in life, overly fearful anxious, nature can up to a point compensate for early setbacks.
Dogs have a unique social behavior being able to form multiple species attachments, to other animals, humans as well as to other dogs.
Properly socializing your puppy is so important because it is only through the learning environment of experience that we present to our dogs do they learn how to behave with humans. Do not underestimate the significance of providing your puppy with the positive learning experiences in his short window of opportunity. The right exposures can have a profound effect on his long term ability to become the loving compatible companion which is predominately the roll the dog now plays.
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