Proper socialization is an important part of training for new puppies. If you’ve got a brand new dog in your house and you’re ready to introduce them to the world, here are a few tips for socializing your new dog.
Start Socializing Your New Dog Early
It’s important to have your dog meet people and other dogs while they’re still a puppy. If you start socializing them early, they’ll likely feel more comfortable around other dogs or people and you’ll have an easier time training them.
According to the experts, the best time to let your dog meet other dogs or people is between 3 and 12 weeks. Some experts refer to this period as the “sponge window.” Puppies in this period absorb new experiences and information like sponges.
Take Your Dog for Lots of Walks
If your pup is shy or easily frightened, it may be best to start with brief walks around your neighborhood. Then, gradually work them up to longer adventures. These provide ideal socializing time for dogs.
Walks are important for socializing new dogs. They let your dog grow more comfortable with the world around them. Once they can see that the world isn’t such a scary place, you might have an easier time introducing them to strangers or getting them to stay calm when the mailman shows up.
Reward Your Dog for Good Behavior
It’s important to reward your dog for good behavior when you socialize them. This way, not only will your dog learn what good behavior is, but they’ll also learn to associate social situations — such as meeting other dogs or people — with positivity.
When you take your new dog out in public, keep treats on hand. If your dog is friendly with new people, give them a treat or two. Your dog will love meeting new people this way!
Be Careful With Other Dogs
This is especially important for owners of small dogs. Some pet owners will even avoid socializing their dog until later. They’re worried about their puppy being bit or barked at by the neighbor’s massive guard dog.
However, if you err too much on the side of caution, you might miss a critical period in your dog’s training. If you are going to introduce your puppy to other dogs, make sure you confirm that the other dog is friendly first. Make sure that you and the other dogs’ owners are both there for at least the first few times they meet.
Pay Attention to Your Dog’s Signals
Social interaction is important for dogs, just as it is for humans. Also like humans, dogs can get shy, nervous, or simply worn out from too much socializing. When you start socializing your dog, make sure you pay attention to their signals. If they seem to be scared or upset, it might be time to go home.
You might notice that your dog is backing away from other dogs or strangers. There are signs your dog is not having a good time. If their tail is between their legs or if their ears are flattened against their head, take them home and try bringing them back out later.
Socializing a puppy is one of the most important parts of training a new dog. Make sure you take advantage of the time to start socializing your puppy so they’ll grow up to be happy, friendly dogs. Let us know how you’ve socialized your dog in the comments section below!