Puppies between the age of 3 weeks to 16 weeks are in their Socialization Stage. During this Stage, it’s critical that you introduce your puppy to a variety of people, animals, sounds and places to ensure proper socialization.
Here are some tips to get you started:
1. Always pair things your puppy considers positive with new experiences:
- People – Include children, men, women, people of different ethnicities and people wearing and carrying stuff
- Animals – Dogs and Puppies – introduce and provide play opportunities after you have ensured potential playmates are friendly and display good play skills
- Puppy classes and puppy socials are controlled environments offering appropriate play opportunities in a sanitary environment
- Dog Parks can be overwhelming to a young puppy – wait until your puppy is fully vaccinated and well socialized before frequenting your local dog park.
- Whenever your puppy sees another animal, pair with good things according to your puppy
- Visit parks and places where you can sit and watch the various people and animals at a comfortable distance for you puppy – don’t forget to pair yums, toys and play with new experiences
2. Introduce your puppy to new places, sights, sounds and smells:
- Introduce puppy to a variety of surfaces
- Tile floors
- Surfaces that move slightly when stepped on
- Visit your Veterinary Office and Groomer
- Visit these locations just for treats and fun
- Introduce new sounds – things that make noise – rattle, shake or thump
- Observe your puppy closely upon every new encounter ensuring your puppy is not afraid
Avoid scary situations for your puppy – fear is the easiest thing to install in your puppy, but the hardest to get rid of. If you see your puppy with ears back, tail tucked or avoiding a particular situation, slow down. Let your puppy view what scared him from a distance, generously giving treats each time your puppy perceives what scares him.