Socialization usually means that someone is learning to be a part of society. When socializing puppies, this means that you are trying to help them learn how to be comfortable in different environments that may include different people, sights, smells, noises, and animals. Socializing your pup is a big project and will take a while but will be worth the wait. It is best to start socializing the puppy between 3 and 12 weeks old. If the puppy is after these ages, then it will take a bit more hard work because the puppy will be more cautious of anything that they haven’t encountered before. Dogs that aren’t socialized are more likely to be more reactive and aggressive to animals and people that they don’t know. Dogs that are relaxed when hearing honking horns, cyclists, crowds, and veterinarian exams are the ones that will be easier and safer to live with.
When socializing your puppy, you need to make sure that the situation isn’t too overwhelming for them. Make sure that they are comfortable and not worried every time that you are trying to expose them to something. As an example, if you were to play a puppy part where there would be a group of people and puppies and the puppy only becomes overwhelmed. Although your intentions were meant to be good, if the puppy is just scared in the corner at their own party, then he will not be learning socialization skills and will only feel like they are surrounded around a bunch of strangers. This can cause a problem because scared and overwhelmed puppies lead to dogs that are reactive and aggressive.
A great way to make sure that the puppy is socialized is by taking it to puppy school. Puppy school has classes that are specifically designed for puppy training and helps them with early socialization skills. In the average class there is off-leash play and play-fighting which will help to socialize the puppies with each other. It also teaches them how to be gentle with biting and mouthing and how to get used to being handled by a variety of different people. There are some classes that even will give the puppies exposure to odd sightings and sounds through props, CDs, and people in costumes in order to be accustomed to a range of different life experiences.
Puppy classes also teach basic obedience skills, this means that along with socialization, the puppy will learn how to comply with specific requests and behave according to your expectation. However, this doesn’t mean that the puppy will do everything you want for them. This means that you will have to continue the training with the puppy so that they are consistently getting training and it will be innate for them.
Socialization is an important aspect that will help your puppy become a happy, fun, and safe companion. Many dog owners can admit that it is easier and enjoyable to spend time with a dog that is relaxed and gets along with strangers, other dogs, and is able to easily adapt to new experiences. Although there are some dogs that are born with reactivity, there are many dogs that if they are socialized well enough and with the right training can become better dogs when they are able. Socializing your puppy will give them the best chance for them to develop into a dog that is more comfortable in any environment and be a joy to be with.