How to Socialize a Puppy
New puppies have boundless energy and they’re tons of fun. However, to ensure your new puppy’s energy is directed in a positive way, it’s important you socialize your lovable canine. So, read on to learn when to begin socializing your puppy, why you should, and how to do it right!
Why Is It Important to Socialize My Puppy?
Socialization is the key to a happy, well-adjusted dog. By exposing your dog to new sights, sounds, and smells in a positive way, you can prevent Fido from being fearful of kids, car rides, and other experiences that typically trigger anxiety in unsocialized dogs.
More importantly, by socializing your puppy, you just may save its life. According to the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior, “behavioral issues, not infectious diseases, are the number one cause of death for dogs under three years of age.”
When Should I Begin Socializing My Puppy?
We recommend you begin socializing your puppy between 3-12 weeks. That time period is when your puppy will be most open to new experiences.
Once the 12-week mark passes, it becomes more difficult to socialize your puppy with each passing week. And, unfortunately, at 18 weeks, it can be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to socialize your puppy.
How Can I Socialize My Puppy?
Here are our best tips for socializing your puppy:
- Walk Your Dog Daily – Going for regular walks in your neighborhood is one of the best ways to socialize your puppy. Along the way, your dog will be exposed to new people, places, sights, and sounds, making this the ideal way to (gently!) get him accustomed to things that are potentially outside his comfort zone.
- Expand Your Dog’s Social Circle – It’s best to introduce your dog to all kinds of people—young, old, men, and women. You want your dog to get acclimated to people of all sizes, rather than merely feeling comfortable around you.
- Consider Puppy Classes – Puppy classes offer a great opportunity for you to socialize your dog with other dogs and people in a safe, controlled setting.
At Beechwold Vet, we recommend Deb Franks’ Puppy Preschool for puppies under 12 weeks of age. In preschool, not only are dogs socialized, but they also experience structured playtime, learn to accept a leash and collar, and are taught not to bite.
- Keep an Eye on Your Dog – Be alert to any signs of discomfort from your dog. You want to be careful not to push things too fast if your puppy appears to be distressed. So, if your dog seems scared or skittish, avoid making a big deal about it and remain calm. Your dog can pick up on your emotions, so it’s important to stay cool and confident.
How Can I Schedule a Checkup for My Puppy at Beechwold Vet?
If you have any questions about socializing your puppy—or you need to schedule a wellness visit—we make it easy to do so. Just contact us. We’re located at 4590 Indianola Avenue, and we offer weekend and evening appointments for your convenience.