What “Socialization” Really Means

When you get a new puppy the first thing you’ll hear from everyone with two legs is how important it is to socialize your new four legged family member, and it’s the truth. What most people don’t realize is exactly what “socialization” means. It’s more than just letting them sniff a stranger while you clutch them in your arms, although…that is the beginning.

Playing with other puppies is also enormously important to teach your dog bite inhibition, but that comes at an age appropriate time when necessary vaccinations have been administered. In the meantime, don’t waste valuable time “socializing” your puppy with as many different sounds, sights and strangers as possible.

  • Sounds: loud noises, sudden noises (thunder storms), voices, loud voices, high voices, low voices, phones ringing, the TV, fireworks, the sound of the mail slot opening and closing, etc. As many different things as you can think of, expose your puppy to it now!
  • Sights: Puppies learn to be afraid of a ton of different things so expose them to as many different sights as you can now, hats, glasses, facial hair, walkers, wheel chairs, crutches, etc. Anything that you might experience in real life, let your puppy experience now in a safe environment so they learn to accept it as opposed to being afraid of it.
  • Strangers: In his series of puppy books, Dr. Ian Dunbar says you should introduce your puppy to 100 different people within the first 3 months of his life (not the same handful of people 100 different times). Crazy, right? Not really. The more positive experiences your puppy has with strangers while he’s young, the more secure he’ll be as he grows older. Having your puppy socialized with strangers means more than just having them be in the same room as your puppy. Have them appropriately approach your puppy and touch them, feed them treats, play with toys, touch their feet and reward them, touch their ears and reward them, etc.

This is only the start, there’s plenty more to go…but getting started on these things as soon as you get your puppy will put them on the right track to being a PAW-some dog!

Do you have a puppy 10 to 20 weeks of age? Join our Puppy Social Hour! The social is 4 weeks,. Give us a call at Camp to reserve your spot 586-445-9663 or email scs.trainer2@campbowwowusa.com for the upcoming schedule.