Tips on Socializing your Dog

train your puppy to be social

We beagles are naturally sociable creatures. We love everybody, including children, elderly and other dogs. Still, socializing was still important in my young life. I still needed to learn how to act and behave with my new human owners. It’s important for all dogs to become socialized. It helps us from becoming an aggressive or timid dog. It also gives us dogs a sense of confidence. And…everyone loves a confident dog!

Getting your dog out and about and meeting lots of folks in lots of situations will develop a secure and confident dog. In fact, if you have a new puppy or under socialized dog, try exposing them to as many new people and many different positive situations. A good rule would be to introduce your dog to at least 25 different situations and people each month for a four-month period.

Many new puppy owners lack experience regarding the proper socialization and training needed to develop that fun-loving dog we all desire.  So here are some tips on making your dog a happy social dog with confidence.

Chihuahua puppy

Chihuahua puppy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Socializing Your Dog

  • First, if you are getting a puppy, find a good breeder. A good breeder with start socializing your puppy at around five to six weeks of age. The first 12 weeks of a puppies life is critical to start socializing with humans. If puppies are not socialized with people by 12 weeks of age, they could become timid in later life.
  • 3 weeks-12 weeks is the peak socialization period. Depending on the lifestyle you have planned for your dog, this might include the sight and sound of trains, boats, cars, screaming children and babies, crowds, city streets, cats or other animals. While it’s impossible to expose your puppy to absolutely everything, the more bases that you cover the more likely the puppy will be able to understand from their prior experiences and find something reassuringly familiar in a new situation.
  • Eight to Ten Weeks is a period that is fearful for puppies. They need to be handled very gently around children and adults alike. There should be no harsh discipline during this time.
    A beagle puppy

    A beagle puppy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • Staring at 14 weeks of age or how I like to call it “my juvenile period, which did not end for me until I was around 14 months old. During this time introduce your dog to more strangers of all kinds. (adults, children, and other dogs) start doing this at home. This way your dog becomes familiar with people coming into your home.  It can help stop your dog from barking at strangers as they become more protective.
  • Another important thing to do is touch your puppy all over, all the time. This is important for many reasons.  For example, regularly touching and grooming your dog helps you notice external changes such as skin lesions, hair loss or lumps under the skin, something that could need veterinarian visit. Also, this will make your dog much more agreeable with their vet and will not feel fearful being handled by other people.
  •  Keep a close eye on your puppy’s reaction to whatever you expose them to so that you can tone things down if your pup seems at all frightened. Always follow-up a socialization experience with praise, petting, a fun game or a special treat.  Make sure that the situation is not overwhelming for them, and that they are comfortable, not more worried, each time you expose them to something new. If not, you will defeat the purpose.

Other great ways to Socialize your dog

Cover of "Puppy School: Everything You Ne...

Cover via Amazon

Puppy Classes!

This is a great way to help socialize a puppy and learn a trick or two.  Puppy kindergarten classes are totally fun for everyone. Dogs get to meet other dogs and other people too. It is also in another environment that your puppy gets to explore.  All strong socialization  points. These are classes designed just for puppies and basically all the pups are learning how to behave and socialize.  In a typical puppy class, off-leash play and play-fighting helps socialize puppies with each other, teaches them to be gentle with their mouthing and biting, and gets them used to being handled by a variety of people. Some classes even include exposure to odd sights and sounds using props, CDs of sounds, and theatrics with costumes to accustom the puppies to a wide range of life experiences.  You’ll also learn how to ask your pup to comply with your requests and behave according to your expectations.

note: Even though puppies’ immune systems are still developing during their early months, and have not had all their shots, it is still important to socialize your dog with other people and dogs.  Waiting until your puppy has had all of their shots before socializing them, you will miss the chance to do it. He’ll simply be too old to benefit. ..Take some commonsense precautions while socializing your puppy, the risk of infection is quite small compared to the much larger risk of your puppy developing serious behavior problems with fear and aggression later in life.

Safe Ways to Safely Socialize a Puppy Who Is Not Fully Vaccinated

  • Drive to a busy mall and hang out with your pup on a mat at the entrance. people will come to you and interact with your puppy. Offer treats that they can give to your pup.
  • Puppy party! Invite friends and family over, play some music, toss some streamers, and pass your pup around.
  • Drive around with your pup. (not just to the vet!) Try busy noisy streets, out to the country, take your pup to the zoo…This way your puppy will see, smell and feel all kinds of things.
  • Play dates with other puppies and adult dogs who you know are healthy and friendly.
  • Take your puppy everywhere with you. If they are small enough get a cool dog carrier and bring him to your favorite shops, streets, or dog-friendly restaurant.
  • Have family and friends bring their children around to meet your pup. This can be a wonderful two-way street. Your puppy gets used to children and children learn to be kind to puppies.

Socialization your dog is essential for helping your puppy develop into a happy, fun-loving and confident dog. You will find it so much easier and enjoyable to live with a socialized dog, who is relaxed and friendly with strangers, gets along well with fellow dogs and adapts to new locations and experiences. So get your pup and go discover and enjoy the world together.


Puppy beagle

Puppy beagle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)