Updated by Sheryl on Oct 22, 2021
Everyone loves happy and well-adjusted dogs. However, your pup will be playful and friendly only if you socialize it from an early age—the young dogs who are not well-socialized exhibit abnormal self-defense behaviors such as aggression and fear.
Generally, puppy socialization refers to introducing your young pet to daily surroundings such as people, other animals, loud noises, and much more.
If you are curious to know how to socialize a puppy, read this post till the end.
Are you bringing a new pup home? If yes, socialization of your new puppy is crucial to make him familiar with the new surroundings in a positive way. The ideal age to socialize a puppy is between 10-16 weeks of age. Later, training an adult dog to adjust to the new environment becomes harder.
Therefore, the success of pup training depends on how do you socialize your puppy. But before doing this, make sure that your pup has been dewormed and vaccinated with initial doses. In addition, talk to your vet about selecting the right puppy breed that matches your lifestyle. Also, avoid puppy meet-ups in crowded areas such as pet shops and dog parks unless it is not fully vaccinated.
Here are some of the best ways to socialize your puppies with other dogs.
Make sure that your puppy has more positive experiences when you bring it home. For example, if you have other dogs, don't push the new arrival in front of older dogs unless it is ready to go by itself. Otherwise, you will make him uncomfortable and difficult to socialize in the future. Instead, start from small-scale interactions. Allow your pup to watch from a distance, and leave the area if uncomfortable.
Jealousy bites are also present in animals. So, avoid giving too much attention to your new pup in front of others. In addition, feeding and attending to your older pets first also helps in reducing the conflict. Also, make sure to pet both animals when they are calm. In this way, the new pup will develop a positive association with the other dog.
You should provide a separate safe place for the new puppy while introducing it to other dogs. Soon, it will get accustomed to the smells, routines, and other animals. Sometimes, dogs exhibit stress signs while living in closer proximity. To avoid it, allow them to greet each other while on the leash. They can also greet each other by sniffing from under the door.
Keep a lot of treats at hand and reward your pup when it reacts positively in an interaction. Also, don't forget to divide the treat into small pieces that are easy to digest. For instance, reward the new puppy if it calmly behaves while meeting other dogs on the walks. Also, praise both when new and old dogs are accepting each other.
If you don't have another dog at home, contact your friend who owns a puppy or an adult dog. Then, you can plan a play date at your or her home. It will provide a safe and perfect environment for socializing your puppy. You can also join local Facebook groups to locate a well-intentioned pet parent in your area.
Puppy training classes provide exposure to new stimuli in a controlled environment. Furthermore, they teach obedience training to your pup. But before joining these classes, make sure that your buddy has received its first vaccination. Plus, make sure that there should be no more than 6 to 7 vaccinated pups of the same age and size in the class. In addition, the trainer should monitor the class carefully to avoid bullying and rough play. Also, the area should be sanitized before and after the session.
Human interaction is a crucial part of your dog's socialization. Unluckily, if your dog is attached to only your family members, it will have difficulty accepting new people. On the contrary, your dog can develop good social skills if it has received good early socialization.
Here are the best ways to socialize your dog with humans. Have a look to learn more:
While socializing your dog with humans, provide it a chance to encounter people of all appearances, including small, tall, bearded, without beard, long-haired, short-haired, etc. The main goal of this is to teach a dog that people with variable appearances are also humans. Therefore, there's no need to react overly.
Generally, dogs interact with their environment through sniffing. However, sometimes, they don't like the smell of certain people and act up. Therefore, getting them to accustom the unfamiliar people who smell differently is also essential while socializing them with humans.
Your dog can detect not only your talking tone but also the tone of others easily. So, if it is accustomed to your talking style only, it will get overwhelmed at gatherings. Therefore, allow your dog to experience different noises related to people. These sounds include singing, laughing, coughing, skating, whispering, talking, yelling, and playing music (both electronically and with instruments).
While introducing new people to your puppy's life, make sure to educate them earlier to play with your puppy gently. Any mishandling or rough play will make the socialization process difficult for the future. Always supervise the play session of your young dog with kids.
You might have seen abnormal behavior in dogs when they watch people holding different stuff. It happens because these dogs have not experienced picking variable things. For example, you can walk your puppy by a construction site, then it can get used to people holding different instruments.
Allow your dog to experience people moving in a variety of ways. For example, walking, driving, running, riding on a bike or bicycle, skating, limping, skipping, etc. Make sure that your dog has a good experience with these movements.
Your dog might be stressed when around different people; practice eye contact exercise if you find it in trouble. It will help to divert your pup's attention from the person towards you. Also, offer a treat when it behaves calmly in such a situation.
When socializing your dog with humans and other dogs, make sure to have a positive experience in variable conditions. In addition, you should behave the same while encountering people of different appearances wearing different clothes. In fact, how your dog will behave highly depends on your reaction while meeting people. If you overreact, it will do the same. Also, take care of your dog's safety and comfort while socializing.
Make sure to start socialization slow and steady. Don't enforce it to a situation until it is not ready to step forward willingly.