Behavior

Puppy Socialization: How to Socialize Your Puppy

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The most critical aspect of raising a behaviorally healthy and happy puppy is to provide plenty of exposure to people, other animals, new places, and fun experiences, which can be challenging during times of social distancing.

The animal behaviorists at the ASPCA recommend relying on frequent and varied walks and conducting safe doggy playdates to continue to socialize your puppy while responsibly following CDC social-distancing guidelines. puppy paw blanket

What is Socialization?

Dogs have a critical developmental period that lasts from roughly 4 to 14 weeks. This is a phase in which your puppy is extra sensitive to new experiences. The quality of these experiences will affect his personality for the rest of his life. Positive experiences with all sorts of people, noises, environments, dogs, normal household objects, thunderstorms, fireworks, grooming procedures, the vet clinic, etc. can help keep your pup a well-adjusted, happy dog. Negative experiences can have long-lasting detrimental effects. Socialization maximizes the chances of your pup becoming a well-adjusted adult! how to abort puppies at home

5. INTRODUCE YOUR PUPPY TO NEW THINGS – GRADUALLY

puppy paw blanket

To properly socialize your puppy, you need to introduce new situations to them and not the other way around. This process needs to be positive, safe, and confidence-building.

The aim is to prevent any bad experiences, which can have a lasting effect on your puppy’s social development and confidence. Dropping them into a situation full of noises and people can be overwhelming and do more harm than good.

4. LET YOUR PUPPY EXPLORE DIFFERENT TEXTURES, SURFACES, AND SOUNDS

puppy paw blanket

Socializing a puppy isn’t just about bringing them face-to-face with other puppies. You should also expose them to new sounds, surfaces, and sights, which will go a long way towards providing enrichment. Let them put their paws on cool tiles, freshly cut grass, asphalt, tarp, different fabrics, and anything else you have on hand.

Encourage them to sit at the window and watch people (and their pets) pass by. Take your puppy for a ride around the neighborhood in your car! Let them listen to louder-than-normal sounds, so they can get used to them and be less fearful. puppy paw blanket

3. SET UP A PLAYDATE FOR YOUR PUPPY

Have a friend, family member, or neighbor with a dog or puppy that you trust around your pet? Consider arranging a playdate. Naturally, this should be done with proper social distancing and other precautions to keep things safe.

If possible, stand on one side of a fence and let your puppy and the other dog sniff each other through it. Later, you and the other person can stand the proper distance apart and allow your pets to interact face-to-face without a barrier in between. Just make sure both pets are leashed!

2. TAKE YOUR PUPPY OUT FOR DAILY WALKS

Be sure to take your puppy on walks as often as possible (while observing precautions). If you encounter a person who is healthy and asymptomatic, it should be safe for them to approach your puppy and even pet them.

Of course, if you have reservations about allowing someone to approach, you’re certainly under no obligation to do so. Do keep in mind that your pet’s coat can harbor the COVID-19 virus for a time, so be sure to wash your hands and avoid touching your face after petting them!

1. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF YOUR TIME AT HOME TO CRATE TRAIN YOUR PUPPY

There’s no better time to get your puppy accustomed to their crate. Puppies need structure, and crate training plays an important role in structuring their day and giving them a place to retreat to. While some people may balk at the idea of using a crate, crate training actually has a very positive effect on puppies and dogs when done properly.

A crate is a perfect place for your pup to take a break and catch a snooze, or just have some alone time. Getting your pet used to their crate can also reduce the chance of separation anxiety.

When it comes time to return to your work office, your puppy will be able to handle their solitude with minimal stress. For practice, organize short feeding times in the crate and have your puppy go into their crate when you need to do chores.

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