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New Puppy? Set them up for Success!
Want a dog that gets along great with strangers, kids, and dogs? Want a dog you can take anywhere without worry? Want a dog that is social, happy and confident? Proper socialization is the key!
The socialization period in dogs is between 3-16 weeks of age. This period is the absolute most important in a dog’s life. This is when a dog learns that they need not be scared, worried or upset by strangers, kids, dogs, novel objects, and new sounds. It’s during this period of their life that you as an owner can have the most influence and impact on helping a young puppy learn that the human world is a safe and fun place to live.
Exposure to as many new sounds, objects, different kinds of people, and shapes/sizes/ages of dogs is one piece of the socialization puzzle. However, exposure is not enough to achieve a well-socialized dog. The exposure must be positive! For instance, if your new puppy meets their first large dog and gets bowled over or otherwise has a very scary experience, your puppy has just learned that large dogs are scary. You then have to work hard to counter this new fear of large dogs (which takes a significant amount of time and effort!).
It is important for us as owners to ensure that all new people, dogs, and experiences your puppy encounters are positive, not fear inducing. We do this by pairing new experiences with positive things for the puppy like treats, toys, and happy talk. If the puppy’s first time meeting a child is paired with treats, toys and happy talk, your puppy is going to think “Wow! These little humans are great! All kinds of good things happen when I meet them!” (Be sure to check out June’s newsletter on proper child/dog greetings!).
So, for a properly socialized puppy, give them lots of positive exposure to as many novel experiences, people, and objects as possible! This will be sure to give you a happy, social, confident dog that gets along great with people, and dogs, and thus allows you to take it anywhere.
*If your puppy is past this age do not despair! Though 3-16 weeks is the most important time in a dog’s life, a puppy can still learn that the world is a safe and happy place for dogs after this stage. Socialization after 16 weeks is important too! Bring your dog to Free Puppy Socialization on Saturdays from 11-2 here at DogJax!
For more information on the detailed ins and outs of proper puppy socialization please give me a call at (307) 733-3647, or set up a Free Consult to talk about our Perfect Puppy Package and how we can set your puppy up for success.