Socialization is the process by which a dog learns how to behave appropriately with others in its environment. Puppies must learn how to interact with adults, children, dogs and other pets in a variety of social situations, from the dog park to the front yard.
Why is it Important to Socialize Your Dog?
If dogs do not become socialized, they may become anxious, fearful and antisocial with people and other animals. Behavior problems are a leading cause of pet relinquishment to shelters and lead to the death of more animals per year than any infectious disease.
How Do I Go About Introducing My Puppy (or Dog) to the World?
Invite family and friends (one at a time) and their pets to visit you and your puppy. This initial visit should be one friend and one pet, working up to having more friends and pets at the same time. Once your puppy knows how to sit, have them sit when they meet a new person and have that person give them a treat.
Once adequately vaccinated, take your puppy on walks and short car outings. It is important for your puppy to meet all types of people, and especially children, even if no children live with you. If your puppy is not exposed to children, they may react poorly to them when they are older.
As your puppy matures, expose them to sounds such as alarms, airplanes, sirens and other neighborhood noises so that they become used to them.
When Should I Take My Puppy (or Dog) to Obedience Class?
Ideally between 8-16 weeks of age. Obedience class is a great way to expose your puppy to new situations, dogs and people, and to teach them good behavior when they are most eager to learn. But taking your dog at any age is better than never taking them at all.