If you’ve recently brought home a brand new puppy, you’ve probably got a lot on your plate! It’s exciting and fun, but it’s also a lot work. Potty training, working on manners, figuring out a routine are all probably top of mind right now. But, it’s important not to forget about socialization – with both humans and other dogs. If your puppy is too young to be fully vaccinated, you’ll want to avoid letting him or her interact with sick dogs, and avoid places like dog parks where there are a lot of dogs around, but it’s not necessary to completely isolate your young pup.
The importance of puppy socialization
Puppies, much like human babies, are very impressionable at a young age, especially during their first three months of life when they’re essentially learning how to be a dog. During this time, it’s important they have a good experience with things they’ll encounter on a regular basis like adults, children, other dogs and even cats. Watch this video from the BC SPCA for tips on helping your pup have positive encounters with new things.
How to socialize your pup
1. Sign up for puppy socialization classes. Check with your local rescue shelter or doggy daycares. Many offer puppy socialization classes that are designed to get your pup used to spending time with other dogs. Plus, they’re usually very affordable!
2. Crate training. Teach your pup that the crate is a safe place for him to sleep and spend time. For more tips about crate training, watch this video.
3. Introductions to new things. Introduce your pup to plenty of new scents, smells and environments. Make playdates with friends who have social dogs and cats and make sure you introduce them to lots of different people during those impressionable months.
4. Handling your pup. Touching your pup’s ears, toes, and other body parts can be a big help when it comes to trimming their nails, or even when it’s time to visit the vet. Puppies aren’t born being comfortable with being handled so it’s important to take the time to get them comfortable with being touched.
5. Independent play time. Just like children, dogs can develop separation anxiety. Give your pup some toys and leave him alone to play by himself. This will help discourage an unhealthy attachment to you.
Pet insurance can help with the cost of vet visits