It is very important for a puppy to be socialized when they’re young. Socialization means to introduce your pup to as many things as possible – people, other dogs, other animals, smells, sounds and environment. It teaches your dog how to react to such things in an appropriate manner and without fear.
Having an early start to explore and socialize helps to build a dog’s character. Many behavioural problems result from a lack of socialization, majority being having grown the aggression of fear. Puppies, just like children learn very fast. By introducing all these variety of things to a puppy at an early stage, the puppy learns not to be afraid of it, and thus will not react aggressively out of fear. By encouraging puppies to explore, we give them a chance to feel comfortable when encountering new things in the future.
It is very important to take note that when you are preparing these socializing experiences for your pup, make sure it is positive experience.
Give praises, treats, pats and cuddles. You can also talk in a high pitch voice – this makes it seem like a happy excited tone which is very encouraging for them.
Another thing to take note of, is to be sure that the experience will not be too overwhelming.
For example, introduce your pup to one or two other dogs before bringing him/her to meet an entire group of dogs.
Having a whole bunch of strangers talking loudly, running everywhere and sniffing you (most likely your butt) is not fun at all. Take it a step at a time. For sounds, muffle them so that it comes of softer than it is, then slowly increase its loudness. For things that can’t be muffled (Ex : Washing Machine), you can work from another room while the washing machine is running. If you have a door in between the rooms, start with it closed, then opened, then eventually make your way into the room.
The best time to socialize your puppy is at seven to eight weeks of age. Of course, anytime after that is fine too, the only thing is that it may be a bit harder.
Some pups tend to find it more scary while others still enjoys exploring the beautiful world.
A few great things to introduce a puppy are :
– cats/kittens (be sure to check that they are dog-friendly. If they are not, they might try to claw your dog out of fear thus giving your dog a bad experience. A good place to find cats/kittens for this is from a friend’s pet)
– dogs (tall, short, small numbers, big groups)
– people of all sorts (young children, old people, dark, fair, tall, short, people wearing hats, people wearing coats, people with a beard, etc)
– vacumn cleaner (you can start out from a further distance before bringing your dog closer to where the sound is. Be sure to treat your dog or encourage your dog to walk nearer themselves)
– loud/odd/sudden noises
– things that move fast
– smooth surfaces, rough surfaces, slippery surfaces
– plastic noises
– crumbling paper
– car rides (start with short rides then increase the distance)
Some places do offer puppy socialization classes. Look out for them and join it! You’ll be able to allow both your pup and yourself to meet other cute puppies and explore new objects. It can be really fun! You can also exchange contacts with the other pawrents and arrange for playdates! Teach them the right way to play. Vigorous playing is fine as long as both dogs are enjoying it, however, do standby in case you need to break things apart.
You can also send your dog for doggy daycare to explore a new environment and meet other dogs and people.
Here are some of the places that provides doggy daycare services in Malaysia :
*Photo credits to PUPstay Home Based Cageless Boarding & Daycare*