Puppy Socialization

The Resource for Everything About Dogs

Puppy Socialization

by Melissa Steele

What is puppy socialization?

Puppy socialization can be described as the part of training when you introduce your puppy to new experiences and environments. Whether it's interacting with people other than your immediate family or other animals, puppy socialization is the process of familiarizing your new pet with the act of experiencing something new. It teaches her to take on new environments and strangers without anxiety but with boundaries. At its best, puppy socialization helps you and your puppy get closer ? beyond puppy and owner and better understand each other.

What are the benefits of puppy socialization?

Socialization skills introduced during the first three months of a puppy's life are primary socialization skills. These are the foundation for a lifetime's worth of relationships with humans and other dogs. Without primary socialization skills, giving your puppy secondary socialization skills is almost impossible. And without any socialization skills at all, your puppy will never really learn how to interact with others, making her skittish and scared of new people, places, and things.

Why start the socialization process while the dog is a puppy?

Socialization is a process that you and your dog will explore for his entire life, but starting the socialization process early when he's a puppy, allows you to build a strong foundation. Puppy brains can soak up so much information. Every experience is new and equal in its own right. It's not that you can't teach an old dog new tricks, but that puppies between the ages of 1 month and 3 months learn new things so much more readily. Take advantage of their brain absorbency!

After the age of 12 weeks or 14 weeks, your puppy's temperament turns to that of a teenager: independent and unwilling to do anything except what she wants to do. Best to get as much socialization in before this time.

How do I socialize my puppy?

You may decide to enroll your puppy in a puppy socialization class to help your puppy adapt to other dogs, but a park where dogs and dog owners commonly go is another option. Introducing your puppy to small children and letting her get used to their high pitched noises and jerky, erratic movements is important as well and the park is another place where you can do this. Remember, though, to be extra attentive as your puppy meets children. You don't want anyone to get hurt ? the child or your puppy.

You don't have to leave the house to get in a little puppy socialization time. Around your house there are many things that you can introduce your puppy to in order to acclimate her to a noisy and unpredictable world. Things like vacuum cleaners, running bath water, loud appliances and tools ? even something like a mirror with the way it reflects light can be abrupt to a puppy. Introduce her to all of these things with care.

Make sure that each interaction ? especially when your puppy respects the boundaries of others and reacts without fear and healthy curiosity ? is rewarded and marked with treats and praise.

If you need help?

Remember: everything is new to your puppy. Everything is exciting and fun. He's learning about what is acceptable and what isn't, what tastes good and what doesn't, how to approach people and other animals, where to pee, and the meaning of different commands. Socialization is yet another thing for him to learn and as long as you are patient and persistent, he will. The process is lifelong.

For more help, enroll the both of you in a puppy socialization class or pick up book or two to help you better understand the ins and outs.

Melissa Steele is a freelance writer for PawDigs.com This site features Pet Essentials with Style including stylish dog beds of all sizes and styles.

Melissa Steele - EzineArticles Expert Author

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