When we get a new puppy, why is socialization important? Wolves in the wild need to learn what is safe and what is dangerous at a young age. If they don’t, they could get killed.
Because puppies are descendants of wolves, they have a short period to learn what is safe and what is dangerous. Science is still getting clear on the length of this socialization period. However, we do know that it best to socialize your puppy before they are 4 months of age.
If your puppy isn’t introduced to certain circumstances, your puppy may learn to feel scared or aggressive around certain situations.
Many of you may know a person that never socialized their puppy and their dog grew to be happy around everything. These dogs have very flexible genetics and acclimate easily to new circumstances. It is best to assume that your puppy may have genetics that aren’t as flexible and to do as much socialization as you can.
Do no stress about perfectionism about it, just do your best. Acclimate your puppy with the below circumstances as best that you can.
It is important that your puppy has positive experiences with the below situations. You can pair any situation below with treats to make it more fun for your puppy.
If your puppy shows any fear or aggression around any circumstances please choose to contact a professional dog trainer. Four Legged Scholars can help you if you wish.
What is Puppy Socialization…? Continued from page 1
- Introduce your puppy to a variety of people.
- African Americans
- skinny people
- chunky people
- tall people
- short people
2.) Different objects
- coats especially black
- camping gear
- wheel chairs
- skate boards
- anything that you think your puppy might see throughout his or her life. Objects change with the seasons. Your puppy will see different items in the summer than in the winter. If it’s summer bring out the winter items now and vice versa.
3.) Different locations
- your veterinarian clinic. Many clinics will encourage you to just bring your dog to acclimate them to the clinic without an appointment.
- friend’s houses
- pet stores
- ball or sport games esp. if you have kids
- Please be aware of vaccines. A puppy that is in a high dog traffic area and is not fully vaccinated could get sick.
However, not taking your puppy to locations until your puppy is fully vaccinated could cause later behavioral problems. So use your judgement. Carrying your puppy instead of walking him at the pet store could help reduce disease as well.
4.) Different actions / challenges:
- climbing over objects
- etc. A playground is a great way to introduce some of these challenges
5.) Walk on different surfaces:
- grates on a sidewalk
- hardwood floors
- wood chips
- etc. What are some floor surfaces that your puppy might have to walk across when he or she gets older?
6.) Other known dogs. Unless you are taking a puppy class, you want to only introduce your puppy to known and friendly dogs. One fight or bad incident can scare your puppy and result in behavioral problems. Please stay away from dog parks until your puppy is at least 6 months of age.