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Socializing your puppy should start before you even take him home. A reputable breeder will take steps to start early socialization steps with all puppies before they go to their new homes.

Why Is Socializing Your Puppy Important?

Puppies who have been properly introduced to many sights, sounds, places, animals, and people tend to grow up to be more relaxed when exposed to these things when they are an adult. Every puppy owner needs to provide positive experiences for their puppy so he can grow up to be a well-adjusted adult. Puppy socialization is one of the most important things you can do when raising a puppy. In this article, we cover 4 simple tips that will help you socialize your puppy safely.

How Should You Socialize A Puppy?

To socialize your puppy, introduce him to many different places, people, objects, and animals. This has to be done positively or the socialization opportunities could do more harm than good. The key to properly socializing your puppy is to always make sure that it’s done in a positive way.

When Should Puppy Socialization Start?

Puppy socialization needs to start at an early age. In fact, it should be started before you even bring your puppy home! This is a very good reason to get your puppy from a reputable dog breeder or a reputable dog rescue.   A reputable dog breeder or rescue will make sure that every puppy they raise is socialized from an early age. They will handle the puppy daily and make sure that he gets used to nail trimming, baths, and breed-specific grooming.

Puppies should not go home with you before 8 weeks of age. Most reputable breeders or rescues will keep the puppies until they are at least 10 weeks old. During this time, besides spending time and learning from their mother and siblings, the puppies should be introduced to puppy-friendly adult dogs so that they learn how to properly interact with other dogs. This is so important so that they learn how to read the body language of other dogs.

Even though it’s important to start socializing your puppy as soon as possible, it’s even more important to keep him safe and healthy. This means waiting until your puppy has had his second set of vaccinations before taking him around any dogs that you don’t know.

Once your puppy has had two sets of vaccinations, he can attend puppy socialization classes. This is a weekly class where puppies can go to meet other puppies and their owners and start the foundations of their training.

Always research trainers before signing your puppy up for classes. Choose a trainer that allows the puppies to have fun along with providing great socialization opportunities. The trainer should also use positive reinforcement training, rewarding good behavior with praise and food rewards.

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What Should I Do If My Puppy Seems Afraid?

Socializing your puppy should not cause him to be afraid. Your puppy needs positive experiences, so if you see that he is afraid of something do not push him. If your puppy shows signs of fear, you will have to take a step back and gradually get him used to the new situation.

An example would be in you introduce your puppy to a horse and the puppy is afraid. In this case, you would distance your puppy from the horse. When he settles and is no longer showing signs of fear, reward him. Very slowly decrease the distance between the puppy and the horse. This could take 10 minutes or it could take several weeks, it all depends on the puppy and what he is comfortable with.

You can use this same technique for anything that your puppy is afraid of. This will create trust between you and your puppy. He will realize that you will not put him in a situation where he is afraid or in danger. Your puppy always needs to know that you will keep him safe.

Positive Tips For Socializing Your Puppy

1.Take Your Puppy To A Pet Friendly Store

Most people can not resist a cute little puppy. So, an excellent way to socialize your puppy is to take him to a pet-friendly store. You will be surprised at how many people want to say hi to your puppy.

2. Arrange Puppy Playdates

If you are lucky enough to have friends that also have puppies, organize a puppy playdate. Make sure that all of the puppies are well behaved and respectful of other dogs. Do not allow any of the puppies to get too rough or dominate any of the other puppies.

Puppy playdates are a great opportunity to introduce your puppy to other dog breeds. Your puppy can get used to other puppies of various sizes, and different energy levels and behaviors.

3. Take Your Puppy For Car Rides

Your puppy should get used to traveling in a vehicle from day one of taking him home. Most people enjoy taking their puppy to places with them, so the sooner your puppy gets used to traveling in the car, the less stressful it will be for everyone. Always make sure your puppy is traveling safely. He should either be in a crate or secured with a dog seat belt.

To learn how to safely travel in a car with your dog, check out our article, Easy Options For Safely Travelling In A Car With Your Dog.

4. Take Your Puppy To New Locations

Not all places are dog-friendly, so when planning your puppy’s outings make sure you check ahead to see if the place allows dogs. Take your puppy to different locations as often as you can. He should get used to city sights and sounds as well as the sights and sounds of the country. Take your puppy to dog-friendly stores, parks, beaches and friend’s houses. The more places you take your puppy now, the easier it will be to take him when he’s older.

Final Thoughts

It may seem like you are spending a lot of time socializing with your puppy and chances are that you are. Keep in mind, that the more time and effort you put into socializing your puppy when he’s young, the easier he will be able to handle new situations when he’s older.

During puppy training and socialization, you will need lots of healthy treats as rewards

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