Having a healthy happy puppy is everyone’s dream and socializing your puppy is one of the smartest things you as an owner can do to make that happen. Socializing a young puppy between the ages of 8-12 weeks is important, this can include exposing the puppy to many different types of people, environments, sights, noises, smells and other dogs or animals. Once a puppy reaches 12 -18 weeks they will start to be leery of new things, so the socializing should be done early and continue into adulthood.
I included a few of our favorite ways to socialize the new puppies. It’s key to know your puppy and to know when he is becoming too overwhelmed. I would not suggest doing all the steps in one day, but remember to have fun with this and your puppy will enjoy it too.
- Have a dog walker come in to give the puppy a break while you are at work or away is a great first step. Ask the company if they can change up staff to help socialize the puppy.
- Attend a puppy class, most classes have an open play time and some even allow kids to attend, which can be great, if you yourself do not have young children.
- Take the puppy to the vet, not for a checkup, but just to say hello and get a treat.
- Most hardware stores allows dogs, this a perfect place for them to meet other people, especially men.
- Sit outside a busy coffee shop or ice cream store. This was Tobies favorite. (Pictured above)
- Walk along the sidewalk where trucks and motorcycles drive by, they are the loudest; Always make sure that you have a snug collar or harness on the puppy, so they do not slip out and become loose.
- Avoid carrying the puppy, they need to get used to the world on their level.
- Expose them to elevators and automatic doors.
- Walk on different surfaces outside, gravel, woods area and water or wet areas.
- Take a walk in the neighborhood when people are moving the grass, not too close – they can be really loud. As a dog walker, we see them often during the day time.
- Expose the puppy to household sounds, pots and pans, vacuum (from a distance) do not allow this to become a game. Roll the garbage can out while on your walk.
You may also find other ideas from Dr Sophia Yim, DVM, MS. http://drsophiayin.com/images/uploads/ce/Socialization_Checklist.pdf
Socializing your puppy at a young age will help him be more relaxed and confident as an adult dog, especially around people. Socializing will also make it easier for you to hire a pet sitter or dog walker for future needs as the puppy/dog will be used to new people caring for him.