There has been a long time debate called Nature Vs. Nurture. This is true for both man and animal. We are going to focus on the nature side of the argument.
Within the first 4 months of a puppy’s life there is more learning than at any other time in you pup’s life.
Your puppy’s behavior, habits, and temperament will be forming during this time. Once formed, these traits will carry through how your puppy relates to family, friends, strangers and other animals.
There is a term called puppy socialization, which encompasses what you are about to learn. There are two types of puppy socialization. The first is active, which refers to dog training classes, introducing your pet to new people, and visiting the vet’s office. There is also passive, which is the time your puppy spends playing at home or walking around the backyard.
Before I show you how to socialize your puppy, I’d like to concentrate a little on why you want to socialize your pup.
- You have a very period of time to help shape your dog into the type of pet that you and society are striving for.
- Teaching your puppy the proper behavior right from the start will save time and money later down the line. Uncontrolled problems such as barking, biting, jumping, and other troublesome acts are not enjoyable characteristics for you or the people around your pet.
- A well socialized dog will easily accept change, new people, obstacles and will interact appropriately with other animals.
- Your puppy will become familiar with everyday noises and activities like lawn mowers, delivery men, vacuum cleaners, and dishwasher.
What will happen if you skip socialization?
You might think that this is a little dramatic, but you might actually lose friends over it. How? People don’t like to be around dogs who aren’t “people friendly.”
I had a friend in college that had a horribly behaved dog. She jumped and peed on everyone and everything. She also used to bite at our heels. I found myself avoiding my friend’s house.
An unsocialized dog may also not have their barking under control. This means that even if they are an intended outside dog, you won’t be able to keep them in the yard for long because of neighbor complaints.
Dogs who have not been socialized properly often times need to be muzzled at the vet’s office and in other surroundings. They tend to be more aggressive and hyper.
When does Socialization Begin?
The moment that your puppy is born, socialization begins. The mommy of your little pup will be the first to discipline your puppy and keep him in line. Also your puppy will learn from their brothers and sisters.
On the human side, the dog breeder plays a large role. He or she should handle them and allow the puppy to get use to human contact. A good breeder will also begin to focus on good puppy behavior.
This very early socialization period is out of your control, however, selecting a good breeder will help ensure that those early weeks were well taken care of for you.
How Do I Socialize My Puppy?
Once your puppy arrives home at 8 weeks old you will take control of socializing your puppy.
These are important tips to keep in mind:
- Begin house training, paper training, and crate training your puppy on the first day home
- Reinforce positive behavior
- Stroke your puppy gently and talk calmly
- Begin obedience training (sit, stay, come…)
- Make your puppy feel like part of the family
- Introduce places to your puppy that they will visit often
- Introduce familiar faces such as family members and close friends
- Take your puppy to the vet
- Start to introduce common household noises like the vacuum cleaner and doorbell
- Give your pup a bath, trim his nails, and brush his coat
- Allow your puppy to explore, but not get into mischievous
- Train your puppy to eat meals from bowls
- Go on walks around the block, so your puppy can get use to being on a leash
- Allow people to calmly come up to your puppy and pet him on walks
Socialization is all about teaching your puppy what to except in everyday life as a member of your family. The sooner you can introduce right from wrong, and proper behaviors, the better behaved dog you will have.
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