Socializing your puppy is crucial. With proper socialization and care, your puppy will develop better manners and behaviors that will positively impact their development and make life easier for both of you. A poorly socialized puppy grows into a dog that can only be taken to dog parks or gatherings with friends and family with caution. The extra handling needed to care for your dog will stress your life. Here are five things to know about puppy socialization to set your dog up for success.
Habituation and Localization
Habituation and localization are two fundamental aspects of socialization. Habituation refers to the stimuli that one is frequently exposed to and gets used to without reaction to it. With dogs, habituation is critical because they must get used to the sight, sounds, smell and all the other stimuli that come with socialization. The smell of people or other dogs, the barking, and the running are all triggers that can cause a reaction in a dog. If dogs are not habituated to these actions, they may react negatively instead of feeling comfortable in the environment. Localization is similar to habituation, except it refers to getting comfortable and familiar with a space. The spaces you take your puppy to socialize in will become familiar and comfortable to them.
Do Your Research
Now that you’ve familiarized yourself with habituation and localization, you should research the dog breed you are interested in. Many dog breeds are known for their own temperament and personality. Some breeds are more independent and stubborn and could require more training and socialization than you have time for. Be sure to pick the right breed that suits your lifestyle, energy levels, and experience with dogs. If you are getting a puppy from a breeder, ask about the puppies’ parents and about their genetics and temperament. Their answers can indicate the kind of dog the puppy will turn out to be.
Observe and Assess
When picking out a puppy from a litter, there can be early indicators that a puppy will be easy to socialize. All you need to do is observe and assess the puppies and their dynamics with each other in the litter. A social puppy will be all over the place. They’ll be sniffing and licking everyone around, excited at seeing anything new. A less social puppy is likelier to keep to themselves and wander away from the pack rather than toward it. They are also more likely to hide at the sight of new things rather than be excited.
Early Handling and Training
Early handling is a bonus when it comes to puppy socialization. Knowing that the puppy you are picking has been handled and exposed to many helping hands early on can benefit the development of their social skills quicker. The first 12-16 weeks of their life are the most significant for puppies. That is when they pick up their primary socialization skills with their litter and species and can begin to socialize with those around them. Start as soon as possible if you know your puppy has yet to be socialized much from their litter. These formative months are crucial for a puppy’s development and can help and benefit their training in the long run.
Even if you know all these steps to socialization, they will only work with consistency. Consistency is key when it comes to training and socialization. Dogs are creatures of habit and thrive when they have a routine. To set your puppy up for success, you must provide them with a consistent schedule that includes socialization and training. You’ll notice a tremendous difference in your puppy’s progress with daily effort.
These five things to know about puppy socialization can significantly impact your dog’s development. It’s essential to socialize and train your puppy early on so they can start learning. If you are considering getting a puppy, check out the services we have at Top Dogs San Francisco. We offer a Puppy Head Start Program, private training programs, and Puppy Socials. Even if your dog is over eight months old, training and socialization are still possible with the proper guidance and help. Please don’t hesitate to contact us today to see if our services fit your dog’s needs.