Socialized dogs behave well around humans and other pets. They understand the world is a safe place and are not fearful of people. The socialization window for a puppy opens up between the seven to sixteen weeks of age. And during this period, your puppy needs to be exposed to as much external stimuli as possible. As puppies can absorb a great deal of information, during this time. A puppy also learns social behavior from its mother and litter-mates. This is the reason that puppies should stay with their mother the first two months after their birth.
The ideal time for adopting a puppy is when it is eight weeks old. Once a puppy is adopted, it is important to introduce it to other animals, children, adults and regular household noises like TV, vacuum cleaner, doors bell, car horn etc. If a puppy is not socialized at an early age, it may always be fearful of people and could become aggressive. Dogs not properly socialized become fear biters. This should be avoided at all costs. The more number of people or objects your pup is exposed to at an early age, the better will be his social skills. Here’s how you can properly socialize your puppy:
#1. Introduce your pup to the family
The first step after the puppy is settled in your home, is introducing him to other members of the family. He should be made to feel safe and loved by the family. You should do this slowly so as not to stress out the pup. Children should handle the puppy under close supervision of an adult. If there are other pets in your household, they should also be gradually introduced to the newcomer.
#2. Invite friends to come over
If you can’t take your puppy out, bring the people in. Invite your friends who, have friendly, healthy, vaccinated pets to come over your place to meet your puppy. Make sure your pet have positive experience, as bad experiences at an early age can make negative impressions for years to come.
#3. Bring your pup to new sights, sounds and smells
For a puppy, the entire world is new, strange and unusual. So, think of everything he encounters as an opportunity to make a new positive association. Try to expose your puppy to many different types of people, places, sounds and textures. For instance, make him meet an elderly person, a child, a person on wheelchair. Make him walk on carpet, tile and marble floors. Make him listen to the sound of ringing phone, door bell and vacuum cleaner.
#4. Play games with your puppy
Spending time and playing games with your puppy will help him gain exposer in a playful manner. This will help him develop better social skills and learn good behavior. Also, rewarding your puppy on performing well will encourage and motivate him.
#5. Take your puppy to training classes
You can consider sending your pup to training classes, after you start with his vaccinations. This will not only help him learn the basic commands, but also will expose him to other dogs and people. Thus, helping in develop his social skills. Try to get in touch with dog trainers and behaviorist in your neighborhood to further explore this option.
#6. Take baby steps
Try not to do too many thing too fast. Avoid taking your pup to a crowed place or a busy public place in the beginning, as it could be overwhelming for your little one and may result in a fearful response to strangers in future. So, if you want your puppy to get comfortable along multiple people, start slowly with few family members than gradually integrate to strangers.
Patience and perseverance will help your pup feel comfortable around people and other pets. Thus, eventually making him a social-being. Teach your dog good behavior throughout his adult life. He will be grateful to you and you will be a happy canine parent.