Bringing a puppy home is a wonderful time full of joy and fun. You want them to settle into your home and family as quickly as possible, which involves ensuring they feel safe in their surroundings, but soon enough, it’s time to broaden their horizons. Your puppy must learn how to behave around and interact with other dogs and humans of all shapes and sizes. Remember, socialization should be a fun stage for both your puppy and for you. The more positive you can make the experiences, the more confident your dog will be. Here are eight tips to get you started.
1. Bear in mind what you are trying to accomplish, i.e., you are trying to show your puppy that the world is a fun and safe place to explore. When a puppy encounters a frightening situation, they will quickly associate the place or people with those feelings. Use treats, affection, and games to make socialization as rewarding as possible.
2. Create a list of what and who your puppy is going to come into contact within their future. Think about their life inside the home, the car, walks, and visiting family so you can start to introduce these experiences as early as possible. New experiences should be short at first, so you don’t overwhelm the puppy.
3. Ideally, your puppy should be able to explore new environments and situations at their own pace, so don’t force them into situations they are anxious about. Make sure they have somewhere to retreat if they are too scared. If you are in doubt concerning what is best for your puppy, consult a veterinarian at Heart and Paw in Callowhill.
4. While it’s good for your puppy to meet lots of different people and friendly dogs, they must learn how to behave around strangers, human and animal alike. They can’t run off and play with all the dogs they meet, jump up at people, or expect treats from everyone they see.
5. You can get your puppy used to unfamiliar and sudden noises in a safe environment in your own home using a sound effect app. Starting noises like thunder, fireworks, or loud engines at a low level while they are playing, or eating will help them to get used to unusual noises.
6. Enroll your puppy in a training class so you can learn how to communicate with them, and they can learn to focus on you when there are a lot of distractions. This will also give you the chance to meet other new dog owners and puppies as well as well trained adult dogs.
7. Remember that your dog will continue to learn and must adapt to new experiences throughout their life, so it’s important to be supportive and patient when they are fearful or sensitive.
8. While socializing your puppy, bonding with them, and giving them as many fun experiences as possible, it’s important to get them used to be on their own. If they are not able to cope when left alone for even short periods, they are likely to develop separation anxiety, which can be very problematic in dogs.