Socialization is a crucial part of a puppy’s growth and development. It ensures that your furry friend grows up to become a well-mannered, confident, and happy dog. While socializing a puppy may seem easy, it actually requires patience and understanding. For many puppies, the world feels like a big and scary place, and if you aren’t careful, they could become overwhelmed.
Fortunately, we’ve compiled an easy-to-follow process you can use to properly socialize your puppy. That way, once your pup is all grown up, they will be a happy and healthy pooch!
1. Introduce your puppy to the outside world.
Because the world looks strange to your puppy, exposing them to new people quickly can be frightening. Try to come up with different people and sights you can introduce to your pup. For example, you can introduce your pooch to grass by placing them outside on a patch of grass.
Have them meet new people by introducing them to your relatives, preferably one by one. Your puppy may cry or whine at first, but they will grow accustomed to the new sights and people.
2. Let family members handle your puppy.
You may want your puppy to get used to being handled by different people. We recommend this so that your furbaby does not get too attached to you. Remember to let one family member hold, play, and kiss your pup in a quiet, peaceful setting. Do not take your puppy to a huge family party or a dog park just yet!
3. Take your puppy out in public.
Observe your puppy as they grow used to their surroundings and people. Once your puppy is accustomed to being around people, you may take them on their first adventure. Avoid going overboard; a quick trip to the local pet store or a friend’s house is enough.
Be sure your pup has received their full set of vaccinations before taking them out anywhere. Once they received their shots, you can take your pooch to a dog park. Check out our blog, Puppy Vaccines 101: What You Need to Know for more helpful information about puppy vaccines.
4. Make each experience positive.
Socialization should always be kept as positive as possible. Don’t hold back at praising your furry cutie when your relative holds them. Give your pup yummy treats after you take them out. These rewards help your puppy associate new experiences with happy memories, and see it as fun! Also, remember to stay calm during the entire process so your puppy doesn’t get stressed.
5. Do some training with your puppy.
Some puppies are natural social butterflies. Other puppies tend to be a little…shy. They may need that extra push to really open up to new experiences and people. When your puppy has their vaccinations, you can take them to a few training classes. These classes will teach your puppy to follow basic commands, and exposes them to other dogs. Your pup’s trainer will be there to make sure all pets are safe and sound during the session.
Socializing your puppy is very important (no pressure!) but we promise, with the right attitude and patience, your puppy will get the hang of it. Pretty soon, you’ll be able to take your puppy with you to the mall, the park, family gatherings, and more! And of course, check out our 5 Common Puppy Training Mistakes for more help with training.