How do I socialize my puppy?
Who wants to socialize their puppy? Do you know what socialization means? Are you socialized?
Let’s first start with a proper definition. Socialization literally means learning to be a part of society. And when used in the context of socializing a puppy, it means acclimating that puppy to a life lived within a human society. In other words, to socialize a puppy not only means helping that puppy feel comfortable around other pet dogs, but also around a variety of human environments such as traffic, crowds, construction, parks, children, and other people.
Dogs are most susceptible to socialization techniques between three and twelve weeks old, which is why we typically refer to the socialization of a puppy. It’s tough to introduce a dog to unfamiliar surroundings or to desensitize them to scary situations after about eighteen weeks (although not impossible). Even more of a reason to concentrate on proper socialization early as opposed to later when complex or intensive training techniques may need to be employed.
So how do you go about socializing a puppy? One word: Exposure. And to as many different experiences as possible, especially during that three to twelve week window. Include exposure to people, animals, traffic, car rides, garbage trucks, schoolyards, crowds, babies – any type of sight or sound that you think your particular lifestyle might encounter. Don’t forget physical handling, either, such as groomers, baths, and vet visits. Socialization is a big project, but it doesn’t have to be boring. It should actually be fun!
If nothing else, you may also want to consider attending puppy kindergarten classes. These are classes designed specifically for socialization within a perceived safe environment. Your puppy most likely will be involved in group off leash play with a number of other puppies and their owners helping your pet become comfortable in a community setting involving interaction with a number of other participants.
Article Source: Pet WebMD (http://pets.webmd.com)