• Linda Healy

Socialize your puppy to people

The easiest part of socializing a puppy simply involves showing up in public with a clicker and treats to make sure all new experiences are fun and rewarding. Bring plenty of delicious treats and a toy to keep the puppy's under control. Go to parks and pet stores, or visit the groomer or the neighbors. Take your puppy as many new places as possible; let him hear, see, and experience the world. Be careful how you introduce your puppy to these new experiences, though. If she seems afraid or unsure of herself, go slowly. Try backing off a bit, using your best treats and happy voice to encourage your puppy to investigate.

Never force an unwilling puppy to investigate something it's terrified of; a bad experience can set you back weeks. Building confidence is a slow process, which works best if you provide your puppy with proof that the world is a safe and interesting place.

When a puppy is fearful of new people and strange things, the best way to help build your puppy's confidence is to let him take his time warming up and reward his bravery. A dog can't learn anything when it is afraid-so don't force him. By working at your dog's comfort level you are putting money in the bank for building confidence. Keep the experience fun, upbeat, and varied, and your puppy will develop into a confident adult dog.


Start Early: The more early intervention you can provide, the easier it will be for your pup to learn to cope with new experiences. By having some tricks up your sleeve you will have more options in helping your puppy to have good experiences regardless of the circumstances.

1) Work at your pup's comfort level with the goal being to gradually get him closer to meeting new people.

2) Go at least two new places each week.

3) Continue to have your dog have good experiences despite the extra effort.

4) Get out there-there is harm in waiting too long

5) Continue past sixteen to eighteen weeks of age, but start sooner if possible.

6) Enlist the help of family and friends.

7) Break scary experiences into small attainable goals.

8) Avoid moving too fast; if you overwhelm your pup, don't be afraid to quit and try again later.

Some dogs need more social experience:

Depending on your dog's breed and personality she may need more social experience than the average dog. The working and herding breeds are notoriously more suspicious of new people and experiences. If you think about what these dogs do for work, it makes a lot of sense. Working and herding dogs are bred to notice what is different and react to it, which is what makes them so good at herding and guarding. No dog in order to differentiate between friend and foe. The more good experiences they have the better able they will be to accept new people and things as a normal part of their world.

Dog Day Care: Dog day care facilities provide nonstop canine fun. Active dogs enjoy wrestling and playing with other dogs, and they get lots of attention from the human staff. Day care a few times a week or everyday can make a huge difference in their socialization to other dogs and people. This also gives a shy dog an opportunity for new experiences, and a boisterous dog a chance to meet all kinds of dogs so as to learn how to adjust his play style to the dogs he's playing with.



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