How to Socialize Your Puppy
Congratulations on welcoming your new puppy into your family!
And now you might be wondering... ummm... now what?! :)
For both newly adopted dogs and established family dogs alike, socialization is one of the most important aspects of your dog’s life.
If you take the time NOW to make sure your dog learns how to interact & play with pups in a healthy way, you're guaranteeing a long life full of friendships and happy interactions!
But you're probably wondering: HOW do I socialize my puppy?
When to start socializing your puppy?
The ideal age to start socializing your puppy is when they're 3 to 12 weeks old.
Why? Because it's the time when your dog is most willing to socialize with new people, environment and situations. The older he gets, the harder it becomes to have them socialize without fear. Young pups are fearless!
If you're working with an older dog, don't worry - it's absolutely possible to socialize them properly, too! Just have more patience, give it more time, and take it slower.
What shots do puppies need before socializing?
Without vaccination, your puppy is prone to catching both Parvovirus and Distemper - both serious diseases you should avoid at all costs.
Catching these diseases may result in unwanted health issues... for both your dog, and any dog they may transfer it to unwittingly.
Do you want to reduce the risk of these diseases? Taking your puppy for his first vaccination between his first 6 to 8 weeks is all it takes! Puppies then go through the second vaccination at the age of 10 weeks to ensure they're 100% safe.
How to socialize puppies safely before they have their vaccines
Have a young puppy? Don't worry - there are many safe ways to socialize your puppy before they've gone through the vaccination process!
Can you invite some of your human friends over to your home? This is one of the best ways to socialize your pup before they're vaccinated, because they can't catch one of the dreaded diseases from a human friend.
Next, take your dog to the same friend's house, so they get used to going out of your house, and interacting with friends in new & unfamiliar surroundings.
Where to socialize your puppy
Are you going to a shopping mall, or out for a walk around your neighborhood?Taking along your puppy is a great idea. Your little pal will get to see new people, hear new sounds and smell new smells - all of which are super important at this early stage.
Remember, an unvaccinated pup shouldn't be on the ground in public places just yet - so put them in a PocoPet Packable Dog Carrier for public socialization you'll both enjoy!
Or maybe you’d like to take him out for a car ride? Most dogs love traveling, and it's an important experience to expose them to early on, so they become comfortable with hopping in the car.
You can also try introducing your puppy to toddlers, children, and teenagers. Interacting with kids is great exercise for your pup, burning off extra energy and giving them a good night's sleep.
How to socialize your puppy with other dogs
Interacting with other dogs plays a vital role in the mental and physical development of your dog - but before they have their shots, be sure to ONLY let them play with older dogs who pose no risk of infection.
After every successful interaction with another dog, don't forget to surprise your little buddy with a delicious treat. It will encourage him to keep interacting positively with other dogs. Treats are what dogs live for!
How to socialize your puppy with cats
Dogs interact with cats differently then they do with dogs. Until you're sure how your pup will react, it's important to keep them on a leash (to avoid any unfortunate scratchy events).
You won't need to keep the puppy on a leash forever; once the canine & feline spend time together and befriend each other, it's totally safe to let them freely interact.
Again, don't forget to offer your puppy his favorite treats after every positive interaction.
Remember: Have Fun!
Socializing your puppy should be a fun and enjoyable process, so don't make it boring for either of you. And staying calm and positive is the key to success here.
Sometimes a puppy might be too stubborn and unwilling to socialize, but your constant efforts and delicious treats will finally make him show interest in other dogs, pets and people.
And remember: the more fun YOU have with the process, the more fun your dog will have!