Fur Real Blog - "Socialization" September 2018


My best friend has two adorable puppies. One is a German shepherd (Roman) and the other is a Pitbull (Gracie). They are sweet, loving, and the best puppies ever! She has never taken them to daycare or to any formal training, and yet they are perfectly obedient. Sure, she has done some at-home training, but nothing too serious. Lucky, right? Wouldn’t it be great if we were all that lucky? Sadly, not all puppies are like that so it is up to owners and veterinary team to make it happen.

Socializing our puppies takes a lot of work and a lot of patience! Socializing your puppy should start as early as 4 and as late as 16 weeks of age. It is during this time that social skills are imprinted on them, and their interaction with other animals and humans is, hopefully, positive.

One thing we always tell our clients when they have a new puppy is to handle it a lot. Hold the puppy in different positions, play with their feet and ears, and stroke their muzzle. Doing these things will get a puppy used to being touched by people and will make it easier when at the vet getting examined.

Something I never thought about when it comes to socialization is sound. There are so many different noises out there and some of those noises can be startling to your puppy. Things like kitchen noises, vacuums, cars, buses and children playing all can scare or confuse a young puppy. Pretty soon those noises will become totally normal to your puppy that he won't even notice.

It is suggested that your puppy meet 100 men, women and children by 16 weeks of age because he will react to certain people differently. Expose your puppy to people of different ages, sexes, sizes and colors; people wearing hats, sunglasses and masks; and loud or quiet people. People in different situations will make your puppy react differently, and hopefully, by introducing your puppy to these various differences, he will have pleasant and unthreatening interactions in the future. Below are some great suggestions for good exposure for your puppy:

  1. Home Depot or Lowe’s – visiting the contractor entrance in the morning.
  2. Downtown for morning, lunch hours, or evening rush hour.
  3. The parking lot or entrance of any grocery store or mall.
  4. Police and fire stations.
  5. Open air shopping centers.
  6. Horse pastures and petting zoos.
  7. Utilize a drive thru carwash as often as possible to experience loud sounds, movement and water.
  8. Your vet office.

So, before you take a trip to the dog park, make sure you have done all you can to make it fun and enjoyable for all! See you next time!

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