Puppies need to be exposed to a variety of things early to avoid a fear response later in life. That fear can be immobilizing and/or cause aggression.
But mistakes can be made and then instead of helping, you can make life worse for your puppy and you!
So what is the right way to expose and socialize your puppy? HOW you do it is KEY.
- Do as much as you can during:
- the first 8-12 weeks of age.
- Second best time is 12-16 weeks old
- Third best time is before 3 years old
- Your dog’s lifetime
- Go at your puppy’s pace. It’s important to avoid any trauma so if your puppy is showing concern, then that’s enough! Pay attention to your puppy’s body language and also check your own mood because it affects how your puppy responds. Don’t worry about how someone else’s puppy responds – all that matters is how YOUR puppy responds.
- CRITICAL: Know that dogs do NOT know that babies are going to grow up and be human like you! Babies smell, sound, move and look different than an adult human. They may as well be a cat! Likewise with toddlers and young children. These are all “separate animals” as far as your dog is concerned so all should be exposed. You may be young but may have children someday. You may be older but may have grandchildren so be prepared. Expose your puppy.
- Socialize To Generalize! I coined this phrase to help you remember that when you expose your puppy to, for example, a loud noise, that can generalize to other loud noises. If you can expose your puppy to 100 noises then great BUT it is not necessary. Again, as in #2, go at your puppy’s pace. Puppies need lots of rest so dont’t over do it. The number of things you expose your puppy too is not that important. It’s how that exposure goes.
- All 5 senses: Try to socialize for all 5 senses which are touch, sight, sound, taste and smell. Smell? For example to alcohol which is used at the veterinary hospital.
- Make exposures positive.
- Keep a list and expose more than once if you can.
Watch my youtube video where I explain further how to socialize your puppy.
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