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Socializing your puppy

Updated: Sep 8, 2022

To socialize your puppy is not complicated but is very important.

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You want to make sure that your puppy grows up to be a very friendly and lovable dog.

I’m sure you have met dogs that were scared or nervous around people or were aggressive towards other dogs or animals.

These can be a result of a dog not being socialized and trained enough at the early age.

Of course other factors can also cause a dog to be aggressive, such as miss treatment or threatening environment. These can be observed in a lot in dogs you rescue or adopt, since most of the time the past of those dogs were not a happy one. Of course it can be remedied and it shouldn’t be an obstacle for you if you want to adopt or rescue a dog.

But right now I’m just going to go over on how to socialize your puppy so he grows up to be a friendly and lovable dog both around humans and other animals.

There are 2 ways to socialize your dog. You can train him yourself or enroll in a puppy training class.

It is definitely cheaper to socialize him yourself, and it’s a lot funner.

I socialized and trained my puppy myself as I had the time and didn’t felt like spending money on classes.

But it did require a lot of time and patience. Some people prefer training classes better because it is “faster” and you have a professional there to help you. However it is definitely possible to train and socialize your pup your self.

Not to mention there are countless training videos out there you can watch and learn from.

It’s totally up to you which route you choose.

For the purpose of this blog let’s say you decided to socialize your puppy yourself. I’ll go over some very basic things. Keep in mind that each puppy is different, so some steps you might have to do longer than others.

So let’s get started.

Getting him/her used to your home

wood stairs leading to the second floor of the house

For example, slippery floors. Your puppy might be scared to step on this type of floors. So you need to get him used to it.

Or you might have stairs. A lot of puppies are scared of stairs (especially after they fell down couple times).

To get him familiar with these surfaces is not hard. Be patient and use treats to train him there is nothing to be scared of.

You can put a tiny bit of treats on each step for example, to coax him into walking up and down the stairs. He will soon learn how to use the stairs and he will be more comfortable.

Next, make sure your puppy is comfortable around the people (and other pets if you have any) who live in the same household as you.

Be quiet

While he is still getting used to your home and your family, make sure to avoid any loud noises.

Try not to yell or scream, or use any high pitched voice. These can scare him.

Time to meet the family

Once he is comfortable with you and everyone in the house, you can invite some friends and family over.

Make sure to tell them also not to use any loud noises. Just let the puppy smell them and get comfortable.

Depending on the personality of your pup he might be shy or overexcited.

My beagle when I got him was the “over excited type”. He would howl non-stop and ran around and jump on everyone. Once he got used to other people he calmed down and no longer bothered everyone in family gatherings.

But I had met puppies that were shy and would hide as soon as a person they didn’t know approached.

Always start socializing your puppy at home first, with few people at a time. Don’t overwhelm him by bringing him into a place with a lot of people.

A friendly visit

3 Golden Retriever puppies playing

Now you can bring him over to your family’s or friend’s home.

Now that he is comfortable in your home and people coming to your home, he needs to be also comfortable going to other places.

The safest way to do this is to bring him to your friend’s or family’s home for a playdate.

Next you could do these same steps but with an other dog (who preferably similar in size, has all the vaccinations and not aggressive).

Have someone bring an other dog over to your place and let your puppy play and get comfortable with him. (If you have several friends or family with dogs, you can do this with all the dogs, one at a time).

Then when he is comfortable with this, you can bring your puppy to these people’s homes to play with their dog.

This is really not complicated, plus you’ll have a great reason to hang out with friends and family.

Some Training

girl training a bulldog while on leash

Now, you should teach some basic commands to your dogs such as “sit”, “stay”, “come here”.

I’ll write an article later about how to teach these commands to your puppy. For now you can watch some videos online. There are plenty out there.

You will needs before the next step.

Let’s go to the park!

Once your puppy is comfortable with your family, friends, couple dogs, and learned some basic commands, you can bring him to a local park for a walk.

Just walk around with him and let him smell things. Let him smell other humans as they walk by. Let him do this at his own pace.

Important Note: before you bring your puppy to any park, especially a dog park, you have to make sure your puppy is up to date on his vaccinations. Both parks and dog parks get visited by a lot by other dogs, and you don’t want your puppy catching any disease.

An other important note: I don’t recommend you bringing your small puppy to a dog park just yet. There are a lot of dangers in a dog park for the little fella.

Dog parks can be visited by dogs who might have diseases, flees etc, not to mention some dogs might be aggressive.

There are big dogs who might view your tiny puppy as a chew toy and play rough with him or her.

So please wait until he grows a little older and has all his vaccinations to avoid these dangers.

For now just walk your dog in a regular park or neighborhood on a leash.

Well with these out of the way, let us continue…