Puppy Socialization Stage: Training And Behavior

2 dogs in the park

Dogs are pack animals by nature; they are sociable with each other and enjoy having company. But there are many reasons why a dog may show problems in relating to other dogs or people, and it is important to identify them.

Most behavioral problems are due to lousy socialization, trauma, or even a bad environment, but don’t worry; all this has a solution. In this puppy socialization post, we will explain how to help your furry friend have a healthy coexistence with its environment.

What Is A Puppy Socialization?

Puppy socialization is a process where your dog learns to relate properly to people (adults and children), other animals, and its environment in general. Everything it learns will shape its relationships and character in the future.

It is also important to avoid bad behavior, nervousness, fears, or phobias that prevent the dog from following orders. A well-socialized dog will also be easier to train.

How Long Is The Puppy Socialization Period?

Puppies should be socialized from about 3 weeks to 4 months, as this is their learning stage, and they are more inquisitive.
What a dog learns now in this stage will be the base of its behavior in the following years of its life. This stage will form: its personality; it will recognize its owner as its own species; it will know living beings, sounds, objects, etc.

This will help it feel more comfortable in any environment and all kinds of situations and lessen any anxiety effect it might have later on. 

Socializing Adult Dogs.

It is more complicated if it already has phobias or bad behavior. In this case, the idea is to use positive reinforcement when faced with a not comfortable situation.

The key to ensuring the animal’s safety (put it on a muzzle or leash if it is convenient) is to understand its situation, reward, and affectionate it to know it is doing well.

It is difficult, but not impossible. With work and dedication, you will be able to redirect its behavior.

How Do You Get Your Puppy/Dog To Learn To Socialize?

3 puppy socialization goals according to Dog Star Daily:

  1. Teach your puppy to enjoy the presence of different people such as family, friends, and strangers, especially children and men.
  2. You want your pup to get used to being cuddled and handled (restrained and examined) around its neck, muzzle, ears, paws, back, and tail by people like children and vets.
  3. Also, get it used to give up valuable toys or objects if you ask it to.
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Meeting new people: Your puppy should get used to dealing with people by taking every opportunity to share and understand that other people can pet and play with it.
You can ask family and friends to come to your home with their children and their pets. It would help if you created a play environment so that your puppy will relate to other people in positive situations.

Please get to know other animals: the best way for your dog not to be afraid or aggressive is to encourage its interaction with other dogs of different ages, breeds, and sizes.
Walk with your puppy in the areas where humans and dogs usually go. And try to slowly bring it into contact with dogs and cats to become familiar with them. Always control it with the leash and be very attentive to get used to it and have confidence.

Visiting new places: Try to expose your puppy to positive stimuli by introducing it to new places; your furry friend will feel comfortable and safe if it goes there often enough. Also, take it out for walks, have it walk on carpets, woods, and different textures.
You’ll teach it to be a puppy who enjoys traveling and continuing to explore the unknown without fear.

Bite inhibition: A dog must control its bite’s strength; this can prevent it from causing damage even when it bites to warn it is angry.
If you’re playing with your puppy, and it bites you, causing you pain, say “No” and end the game by removing your hand at the exact moment it bites hard. When you stop the game, ignore your puppy for a few seconds. That way, negative punishment will take effect.

Understand your puppy: It’s important not to force it to do things that scare it. If your dog becomes overwhelmed or anxious, give it a little space, let your dog come to you for encouragement.
Make it a positive experience. Reward it when it reacts calmly with rewards and voice congratulations

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How To Socialize With Another Puppy At Home?

Socialization is also basic for a new coexistence between two new canine siblings. The presentation should be in a neutral place. If it can be outside the house would be better. A common mistake is to present the dogs in the “territory” of one of them.

  • Always be attentive to their behavior in case they have to be separated.
  • Each puppy must have its own space; each should have its own bed, food, and water dish in different places.
  • Always give the same love to both.
  • Stay calm; your dog can sense your stress.

How To Socialize A Puppy During Social Distancing?

As we know now, with the outbreak of COVID-19, the times are a little different. Although dogs do not contract this disease, the authorities have set rules like short walks close to home and not meeting in parks.
So you might wonder how you can get your puppy “to socialize in times of social distancing”?

Here are some tips:

  1. Home exploration: set up an area of the house where it can entertain itself. Dogs use their sense of smell a lot when they’re out walking, but at home, you can exercise it too, by reducing stress, hiding prizes around the room for it to look for, and using interactive games.
  2. Basic dog training: your puppy must understand from the beginning what its place is in the family and what the rules of the house are, where it should take care of its business, where its food is, what toys it can bite, basic obedience commands (like sit, wait, come), etc. It will not only help to create a pleasant climate at home but also help it develop healthily.
  3. Be different: this is a funny tip if your puppy can’t meet new people. Wear masks, wigs, hats, and more. Even you can use light perfume to change your usual scent, but be careful, remember its sense of smell is much more developed than ours, and we don’t want to hurt it.

Classes to Help Your Puppy Socialize

If you are a busy person or need a little help, in either case, you can always ask for advice and help from a vet or an animal behavior specialist.

Dog trainers can be beneficial in this important task. Puppy socialization classes ensure that your dog has positive experiences with people and animals in a safe and professionally supervised environment.

The overall aim is to educate both the puppy and the owner; they will also help you to socialize your dog with people because the owners of the other puppies are present.

In the classes you’ll be taught:

  • Coexistence at home
  • General behavior, communication, and canine language
  • How to play with other dogs and people.
  • Relating to other stimuli like noises, different surfaces…
  • Basic obedience exercises for dogs (sit, come, wait, etc.)
  • Hygiene habits
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Puppy Socialization Classes Near Me

Investigate in your community by asking the vet or in specialty shops for courses they have heard positive reviews of, and talk to friends who own dogs about classes they have taken in the past.

When you’ve found a course of interest to you, you can try to go without your puppy to inspect the place, talk to the instructor, and ask other owners what they think about the classes. Most importantly, make sure your puppy is vaccinated before the first class.

You can also take advantage of this free time by taking excellent online courses where you’ll have a guide to training your puppy at this stage from the comfort of your own home.

In Conclusion

Remember, your puppy needs to build up a good relationship with its environment. It would be best if you got your dog to have fun with people and other animals, but don’t forget that your puppy sets the pace.
Be patient if it gets preoccupied with certain sounds or places, don’t push it. Look for safe experiences that will end in a positive outcome, don’t introduce dogs you don’t know or children who may mistreat them.
Caring for your puppy’s socialization is critical to its development, so make sure you train it well, feed it a quality diet and give it plenty of affection. Your puppy will grow up to be a healthy and happy adult dog.

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