Socialization in puppyhood is the most critical time for a puppy.
This is where you are essentially painting your puppy’s view of the world we live in, so make sure that everything is a positive experience for you and your puppy.
Puppies have a developmental period from birth to about 4-6 months which is when your puppy is undergoing major brain development. Throughout this time is when your puppy is forming habits, and is where you paint his outlook on our busy world.
The habits and experiences formed in this period carry over to adulthood so it’s important to pay attention and be aware of all your puppy’s experiences.
Socialization, in a nutshell, comes down to providing your puppy positive experiences with a variety of different locations, environments, people , and dogs.
There are two main ways to socialize your puppy: direct and indirect.
Direct socialization in puppies is allowing your puppy to interact directly with another dog or person.
Indirect socialization, in the long run, is more functional in the fact that your puppy does not have to come in contact with another dog or person; it just has to have positive experiences in proximity to them!
The way we accomplish this is by feeding your puppy in or near a new location, environment, dog, or person. Feeding in proximity to these things makes your puppy associate and view them as something positive, all while building a stronger relationship with you, and creating focus on you instead of its surrounding environment.
Puppy socialization is about balance, meaning, your puppy gets to have positive experiences with people and other dogs directly depending on how engaged he is with you and how his training is going.
For example, if your puppy will not pay attention to you around other dogs, refrain from letting your puppy play with other dogs directly.
Having your puppy interact and play with other puppies and appreciate dogs is great exercise and socialization for your puppy, but it can also create an obsession to the point where your dog wont pay any attention to you around other dogs or people.
This varies from dog to dog. Some dogs might not have as much interest in dogs or people, whereas others see every person or dog and wants to play.
So, if your puppy is trying to engage with every dog, it’s better to wait until you develop a better relationship with your puppy before allowing them to interact. If your puppy is paying great attention to you and has no problem focusing on you, let him play as much as you want, but with proper balance.
Be aware that socialization is also an ongoing process that starts with puppyhood, but does not end there. For instance, if you socialized your puppy but stopped allowing social interactions as they grew into adulthood, issues are likely to arise!
- Make every experience positive when socializing your puppy
- Your puppy’s always learning, pay attention to his experiences
- Everything is about balance
- Give your puppy some alone time in the crate whether its 10, 30, or 45 minutes
- Don’t let your puppy “hard stare” at something; Redirect his attention to you
- Redirection is better then trying to stop behavior , give him something else to but his energy into
- Incorporate engagement games in new environments so that your puppy starts to learn to focus on you instead of its environment
This is a condensed guide to introduce the world we live in to your puppy. Taking the proper first steps in puppyhood prevents problems from ever arising in the future.
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