Ok, so you’ve picked out the perfect puppy for your family and have brought your new four-legged companion home to settle in. The next step in responsible dog ownership is socializing your puppy so that he or she knows how to behave appropriately with people and other animals. Here are some basic tips to get you started and help put your puppy on the road to social success.
There are inevitably things that your new puppy is going to be exposed to over the course of his or her life that, if not properly trained and prepared, can cause a variety of emotions and negative behaviors such as fear, anxiety and aggression. To avoid this, it’s important that you socialize your puppy to the following:
- Veterinary Care – Your dog shouldn’t fear the vet. By maintaining ongoing wellness care, your pup will develop a healthy sense of trust and may even grow to love his or her veterinarian.
- Sounds – Slowly introduce your puppy to the sounds of regular household items, like the vacuum cleaner or a hairdryer, as well as normal day to day sounds like the dishwasher or the doorbell.
- Sights – Moving objects can both fascinate and frighten a puppy. Again, introduce them slowly.
- People – Obviously one of the most important parts of socialization is teaching your puppy how to interact with people.
- Other Environments – Exposing your dog to other places outside of the home, such as the groomer or the dog park, will teach him or her to adapt to different environments.
- Other Animals – Introduce your puppy to other well socialized animals so that he or she can learn appropriate behavior around other creatures.
- Toys – Unless you’d like your furniture or your favorite pair of shoes to become your dog’s chew toy, be sure to provide a variety of safe toys to chew and teeth on.
The key to successful socialization is patience and positive reinforcement. Training sessions should be kept short and sweet, and the experience should always be as fun and as positive as possible. Remember to reward your puppy when he or she does what you want by offering a treat or some extra attention. If you feel you’d like some help, consider enrolling your puppy into training classes to help teach and reinforce good behavior.
Socializing puppies is an important part of responsible dog ownership if you want your pet to enjoy happy, healthy relationships with those around him. By learning what things to focus on when socializing and employing positive reinforcement and patience, your puppy will be well on his or her way to enjoying a balanced, social life.
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Disclaimer: No part of this website constitutes medical advice. Readers are advised to consult with their veterinarian.
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