Puppy Socialization: How to Socialize a Puppy with other Dogs?

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    Alina Andreeva
    Alina Andreeva

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  • Updated on: 01/26/2021

It is your dog’s world, and we live in it, but this does not mean that your four-legged friend gets a free pass on behaving himself. Dog parents should teach their puppies to be prim and proper. If your small buddy has many positive encounters with other pups, different people. New situations during his development period, your puppy is much more likely to grow up to be an upstanding canine citizen. Here’s what you should know how to socialize your young puppy and introduce him to other dogs.

puppies socialization with other dogs

What Is Puppy Socialization?

During the so-called “developmental window,” that is, the first three months of puppy’s life, he learns how to interact with new situations and animals. A fur baby is not immune to fear or even injury, but in general, he accepts new dogs and people that he has a good experience with. It is like developing a catalog of smells, sounds, and experiences that fit into the category of “safe.” As icing on the cake, if there are a lot of positive early experiences, your young buddy also learns that “new” does not mean “scary”.[1][2]

Active socialization of your young pooch is crucial. During this critical period, puppies experience various situations that can shape their future personality in adult life. Providing a robust variety of opportunities for interaction with different environments during a “socialization period” can help ensure that your fur baby develops into a well-adapted adult hound that treats other dogs and animals well.[3]

READ MORE: Bringing Your New Puppy Home

When to Socialize Puppy?

Between approximately three and seventeen weeks of age, your puppy will have a development period that will influence his future behavior and how he will feel about his environment in adulthood. A careful acquaintance of your puppy with people, other dogs, and situations makes a huge contribution to the development of his temperament. 

When you purchase a cute bundle of fur from a knowledgeable breeder, the process of socialization should begin before you even take a pup home. Proper treatment in the first few weeks of your pooch’s life helps in developing a friendly, confident, fluffy family member. At the age of three weeks, pups may begin to approach a human who is passively watching them. So a good breeder who encourages a positive experience with people and other dogs can help shape their behavior in adulthood. As their young pups grow, responsible breeders allow them to get familiar with safe indoor and outdoor environments, car rides, sounds and smells.[4]

Why you should Socialize your Puppy?

Dog parents should go through this critical period with their puppies to help them get used to various places, sounds, and smells and positively take them. Proper handling by an owner can prevent a puppy from being afraid of people and react to other dogs aggressively, and it will help him to grow into a well-bred, happy family member.

Your dog’s good manners and confidence can even save his life one day. Veterinarians say that improper socialization can cause behavior issues in a dog’s adulthood. “Behavior problems, not infectious diseases, are the main cause of death for hounds under three years of age.[5]” Take your pooch pal to public places as soon as your veterinarian approves it, and your pup will learn how to behave in different environments and interact with other dogs.

why should i socialize my puppy with other dogsBy Katrin B. from Pixabay

How to Socialize a Puppy?

As previously noted, a good breeder will start the process of socialization, treating a puppy carefully and allowing him to spy out his surroundings. But when you bring a new friend home, the significant developmental period keeps going, so your task is to continue this process. Here’s what you should do to socialize your puppy:

1. Introduce your young pooch to new places, sounds, and smells

To a fur baby, the whole world is new and unusual, so think of everything that he encounters as a good chance to create a positive association. Expose your puppy to a wide variety of people, other vaccinated dogs, places, and noises.[6] For example, this means that you should allow him to walk on carpets, parquet, and linoleum; let him meet a person with a cane, kids, a person in sunglasses, or with an umbrella. Think of it as collecting good memories and positive associations.

2. Try to be cheerful

When your puppy comes up with all these new impressions, make sure that he receives an adequate number of treats and praises so that he takes what he encounters and the feeling of seeing new places, people, and other dogs as a positive experience. Remember to break the treats into bits that will be easy for your fur baby to digest. Also, do not tie yourself up in knots – pooches can sense our mood, so if you go nuts, for instance, introducing your young buddy to an adult dog, your pup will also feel nervous and may be afraid of other hounds in his adult life.[7]

3. Have your family take part in socialization

By involving different people in this process, you constantly make your puppy leave his shell, letting him know that he can experience something new regardless of who he is with. It can become a good game for your children: ask them to write down a list of new things and situations the puppy got familiar with that day, such as “lawnmower noise” or “a neighbor dog.”

4. Don’t be in a hurry

For example, if you want your fur baby to get used to several people, start with your family members and gradually introduce one stranger to your puppy, then two, and so on. If you start the process of socialization by taking your young friend to a crowded public place, such experience can become stressful for your dog and can lead to a fearful response to groups of random people in adulthood.[8]

5. Take it public

As soon as your dog is accustomed to a small number of incentives, make him leave his comfort zone to increase the number of new experiences he will have. Take him to a pet store (after he went through all necessary vaccinations), to a friend’s house for playing with your buddy’s dogs, and so on. Ten days after receiving all vaccinations, you can safely take him to the dog park.

6. Attend puppy school

After going through a full series of vaccinations, your young pooch can also go to puppy classes. These activities not only help your fur baby begin to follow basic commands, but the most important benefit is that they introduce your puppy to other dogs. Qualified trainers keep a close eye so that all dogs and people are safe and satisfied during the process. [9] 

READ MORE: Puppy Training

how to socialize puppyPhoto by Mark Zamora on Unsplash

The Bottom Line

To raise a well-mannered puppy, you should show much attention, love, and patience. After a couple of months, if you follow the tips above, he will learn how to interact with the outside world confidently and become a well-socialized member of your family.

READ MORE: How can you tell the age of a Puppy

Article Sources:

  1. “6 Easy Ways to Socialize Your Puppy.” BC SPCA, 1 May 2021, spca.bc.ca/faqs/how-socialize-puppy/.      
  2. Jolanta Benal, “How to Socialize Your Puppy.” Quick and Dirty Tipsquickanddirtytips.com/pets/dog-behavior/how-to-socialize-your-puppy.
  3. “Is socializing my puppy important?” RSPCA –https://kb.rspca.org.au/knowledge-base/is-socialising-my-puppy-important/
  4. Liz, Donovan. “Puppy Socialization: How to Socialize a Puppy.” American Kennel Club, 29 June 2020, akc.org/expert-advice/training/puppy-socialization/.
  5. “Position Statements on Puppy Socialization – The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior.” AVSAB, 9 June 2020, avsab.org/resources/position-statements/.       
  6. “How to Socialize Your Puppy.” Purina, https://www.purina.ca/articles/puppy/training/puppy-socialization.
  7. Dee, Ganley. “Dog Socialization.” Certified Professional Dog TrainerKnowledge Assessed  https://deesdogs.com/documents/dogsocialization.pdf
  8. Ian, Dunbar. “Before & after getting your puppy: the positive approach to raising a happy, healthy, and well-behaved dog”. Amazon Books, 29 Aprile 2004, https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1577314557/
  9. Race Foster, Angela Walter, “Puppy Socialization: What You Need to Know.” PetCoach, https://www.petcoach.co/article/socialization-of-your-puppy/.

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