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Socialization 101

Many of us want to keep our pups safely snuggled at home and forget the importance of early socialization, with other dogs, with other humans, or with household items. Preventing anti-social behaviors begin just as soon as all of your pups’ vaccinations have been completed. Waiting is risky. If you begin seeing anti-social behaviors like; growling, nipping, hiding, lunging, backing up, biting, before three months… it’s time to get busy!

Guaranteeing the prevention of puppy-to-puppy aggression isn’t possible, but here a few things to aid in the process. Start socialization with other pups as soon as vaccinations are complete:

1. Get together with other dog owners for visits, ensuring their pups are also up to date with vaccinations, as frequently as possible.

2. Leash manners are important so that you can properly introduce your puppy to other dogs while out on walks.

3. If you have more than one dog in the house, make sure that you have enough toys for them to have their own. Spend time checking that they are sharing appropriately. Never leave new housemates alone unsupervised.

When guests arrive at the house to meet your new family member, try these:

1. At a very young age, most puppies haven’t learned door manners yet. It’s always best to have them on a leash, so they can greet guests with you and learn to not jump and to not nip.

2. The more people they meet early on, the better their socialization skills will be. Make sure that you are correcting them if they are not being obedient or if they are annoying your guests!

3. Encourage your guests to engage with the puppy and reinforce obedience throughout their interaction.

Vacuums and brooms are scary monsters to most puppies! Try this:

1. Bring out your vacuum and leave it on the floor “turned off” and let the puppy explore it as his/her pace. Encourage sniffing it, pawing it…

2. Once the puppy has explored, even just a little, give them lots of praise and petting.

3. Turn the vacuum on for just a second and again let the puppy explore at her own pace. Praise and pet again.

4. Repeat a couple times and the puppy will realize that the vacuum really isn’t a monster.

While she may never be best friends with the vacuum monster, at least she won’t attack it every time you are vacuuming up all that dog hair!

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