How do I socialize my puppy?

Puppies play together socialize

Is it important to socialize your puppy? After you adopt a dog, socializing them is one of the most important things you need to focus on. This phase of their life teaches them how to better interact with the world around them. But does socialization mean? How and when should you start socializing your puppy? In this article, we’ll provide a practical guide to teach you how to socialize your puppy.

Why is it important to socialize my puppy?

The socialization period is very important for the well-being and development of a puppy. During the first 3 months of their life, they need to experience particular situations so that they learn how to confront different types of events.

During this period, your puppy will have the opportunity to get acquainted with various animals and environments. Puppies that haven’t been socialized well could become afraid of certain events or develop a fear of the unknown. For example, a puppy born in July or December will be less afraid of fireworks. This is because they were able to familiarize themselves with these types of noises.

If puppies haven’t been socialized early enough, they will learn aspects of socialization more slowly. In addition, could encounter difficulties when it comes to adapting to new experiences. Some dogs could become scared, anxious or become incredibly attached one person to calm themselves.

If you notice that your puppy often presents a lack of contact with other dogs, no matter their size or breed, this should worry you. In fact, it’s likely that they will present relationship deficits with their peers during their development. This can be manifested as phobias, fears, or worse, aggressions.

What is the difference between socialization and social interaction?

Socialization and social interaction are terms that can often be confused. While these two periods are part of a puppy’s life, they don’t mean the same thing. Moreover, these phases don’t happen at the sale time. The information below will help you understand the nuance.

What is socialization?

Puppy socialization is a process in which a puppy learns to interact with their environment (humans, dogs, and other animals). The base word “social” refers to getting familiar with everything around them. It refers notably to visual, olfactive, tactile, and auditory stimuli, as well as social situations.

If your puppy is well-socialized, they will have an easier time establishing a good relationship with you. They will also be able to get familiar with and face numerous situations with ease. Socialization is, therefore, one of the best tools to prevent behavioral issues in puppies. Once you get passed this step, you will feel more at peace outside of the house. This will allow experience extraordinary moments with your loyal companion.

Different types of socialization are possible:

  • attachment and social imprinting,
  • sexual imprinting,
  • parental and filial imprinting,
  • imprinting with friends,
  • environmental imprinting.

In general, puppy socialization only lasts a few weeks. While it allows a puppy to adapt to different environments, they can also be traumatizing to puppies, especially if they not done well. The diverse experiences that your puppy is confronted with during this period will stay with them all their life.

To succeed in socializing a puppy well, you need to take into account the realities of every environment in which they will live. The situations they will have to encounter as adults should also be a factor to consider. What will their role be? Will they be a farm dog, a city dog, an assistance dog, or a dog within a big family? The answers to these questions should help guide you.

What is social interaction?

Social interaction is simply learning how to live life in a group. During their socialization period, puppies should simply see other dogs, while during their social interaction period, they should be in true contact with them. During this phase of their life, they need to learn to get along with their peers, with other animals, and with humans.

Normally, at this stage, your puppy should have received their vaccine. They can, therefore, be in direct contact with other animals. It’s during this phase that they will learn to get along with humans. Keep in mind that learning social interaction can take a long time. It isn’t enough to simply be in contact with your dog to teach them social interaction.

Puppy in human's arms socialize
Social interaction is a way of putting into practice socialization.

How and when should I socialize my puppy ?

Puppy socialization starts rather early and is done following precise steps.

How should I socialize my puppy?

Before starting, ensure that your puppy is up-to-date with their vaccines. Then, list without holding back, everything that they will encounter in their new life. The goal is to have them experience these things in a positive manner. Have them listen to different sounds (radio, television, vaccuum, a utensil falling, a car, or a bike. You can also listen to an audio version of firetruck sirens or thunder.

Walk your puppy often in diverse areas such as elevators, in the countryside, parks, or even at a train station. Do this slowly so that you do not traumatize your dog. Get them used to the car as well. Your puppy should not be afraid of being touched. For this, caress them and teach them how to be brushed and washed. They need to be socialized with children, babies (under close supervision), and adults. Ensure that every one of these experiences are positive for your dog.

Put your puppy in contact with adult dogs that have a balanced character. Avoid forcing interactions and give them the possibility to refuse if they do not feel comfortable.

When should I socialize my puppy?

You are probably asking yourself when you need to socialize your puppy. A puppy’s socialization period generally starts as soon as their third week and ends around the fourteenth week. This period can vary depending on the breed or type of dog. It can be divided into two steps: a formative step that should normally be done by the breeder, which is the most sensitive step. After 3 or 4 months, they can be adopted.

If the puppy is born from a dog that lives with you, you can already start by petting them and exposing them to different sounds as soon as their fourth week. While they are still very young, this will help them adapt quickly. Keep in mind that around the seventh or eighth week, they will be ready to detach themselves from their mother to find some independence. They can then explore other horizons on their own.

How and when should I start teaching my puppy social interaction?

Social interaction is a way of putting into practice socialization. Therefore, it comes after the socialization period.

How do I teach my puppy social interaction?

During this phase of their life, your puppy needs to learn to interact well with other living beings around them or that they might encounter later in life. We are generally talking about intraspecific social interaction (with animals of the same species) and interspecific social interaction (with animals of a different species). Your role is to ensure that these interactions are positive. You can, for example, bring them to a dog park, but it’s rather risky.

Prioritize above all that the environment is calm and has large, open spaces. Avoid contact with stressed or aggressive dogs. Your dog should also be in contact with children and adults to learn how to be friendly with them.

When should I start teaching my puppy social interaction?

The first stage of social interaction starts around 3 to 12 weeks after they are born. The second phrase starts after 12 weeks and usually ends around 6 months.

This Letsgetpet article might interest you: Welcoming a new puppy to your home