It’s important to socialize your puppy, and the sooner you can begin, the better. Puppies are far more likely to be accepting of new experiences such as meeting other dogs and people at this time in their lives, and in most cases, they will be curious and inquisitive rather than frightened. However, it’s important that you are careful when introducing your puppy to other dogs and people since if something traumatic does occur during this early development stage, it could lead to problems that will be difficult to rectify in later life. Here are some simple tips for socializing your pup:
- Watch your puppy closely
Watching your puppy during every step of the socialization period can help you to spot reactions and changes to body language. If your puppy seems to be stressed or frightened, take them away for a short break or alter the activity. Common signs of fear can be seen in such behaviour as cowering, hiding and showing of the whites of the eyes.
- Socialize your pup with healthy animals
It may be that you have friends with dogs, and if they are vaccinated, healthy and not known to be aggressive or over excitable, then you could try introducing your pup to them in a controlled environment.
- Allow your pup to meet children
It’s helpful if you know the nature of the children before they meet your puppy, as some youngsters may not know how to respond to them appropriately. If you have friends with kids, then allowing your puppy to meet and play with them would be a great idea, and as always, keep a close eye on what’s happening.
- Take your pup out with you
If you carry your puppy in your arms when you go out, they are far less likely to pick up any diseases that they may not yet be vaccinated against. They will also feel safe in your arms but can still see and hear what’s going on around them.
- Use pre-prepared recordings
There are many apps available that give you the chance to expose your puppy to certain sounds that they may frighten them, such as fireworks, thunder and loud bangs in general. If you can play these sounds while they are distracted by something pleasurable, such as eating food, and gradually turn up the volume, you’ll be able to help avoid your pup developing a noise phobia.
- Touch your pet often
Stroking, grooming, brushing teeth and trimming nails are all great ways of getting your puppy used to being touched, and should reduce their fear or discomfort of being touched.
- Reward good behaviour
When your pup behaves well during socializing, be sure to reward them with treats and praise. Any naughty behaviour, such as barking, biting and jumping up should be ignored; they will soon realise that these actions don’t get your attention, and stop.
Socializing your pet early in their life is the best opportunity you have, to help ensure that your pup develops into a happy, healthy and sociable adult dog. They are not puppies for long, so make the most of this period in their development and make life better for the both of you for years to come.