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How to Socialize a Puppy. Everything About Puppy Socialization

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Ready to learn the secret of how to socialize a puppy? This article will show you how to make that puppy the best-socialized pup around! From tips on introducing them to other animals and people, we'll prepare your furry pal for any situation.

Who doesn’t want to bring a pawsome little bundle of joy into their family? The true meaning of puppies is unconditional love, companionship, and devotion.

These little creatures are so good at heart that they don't let you feel lonely, and according to some research, puppies help alleviate anxiety and stress. So it's better to add a companion to your family to make yourself feel less lonely.   

Owning a dog isn’t just extremely rewarding and a privilege, but it's also a time-consuming task and a great responsibility. Dogs generally make great companions but need more than shelter and food.

It would help to consider many things before getting a dog on board in your family. The most important of them is puppy socialization.

Socializing the puppy is dauntlessly the first and foremost thing you must learn after bringing a puppy to your family. It's the key that makes your pups confident, content, and a great companion.

Here we have carved out details that help you find why puppy socialization is important and how to socialize your puppy correctly.

How to Socialize a Puppy
How to Socialize a Puppy

How to Properly Socialize a Puppy: Top Tips

  • Socializing a puppy is an essential part of being a responsible pet owner. It helps the puppy to better adjust to different environments, people, and other animals, as well as helps them learn how to behave in social situations. Here are some tips for how to properly socialize your puppy:
  • Start early – Puppies should begin socializing as soon as possible, ideally before 16 weeks. This is the best time for them to learn how to interact with other people, animals, and new environments. Make sure that all experiences are positive during this period to ensure that they develop good habits and behaviors.
  • Supervised introduction – When introducing your puppy to new people or animals, do it in a controlled environment with supervision. This allows you to watch how your puppy behaves and intervene if needed.
  • Positive reinforcement – Always reward good behavior with treats or praise to encourage them to repeat the behavior. If your pup is anxious or scared, speak gently to them and give lots of positive reinforcement when they are brave and approach the new situation.
  • No punishment – Punishment should always be avoided when socializing puppies, as this can have a negative effect on how they interact with others in the future.
  • Be patient – Puppies take time to learn to be around other people and animals, so give them plenty of time and be patient with them.
  • Exposure – Expose your puppy to various people, animals, and environments calmly and at their own pace. Make sure they have brief but regular exposure to new things until they become comfortable with them.
  • Watch how your puppy behaves - Pay attention to how it reacts in different situations and interacts with other animals and people. This will help you to gauge how much socialization they need to become well-socialized.
How to Socialize a Puppy
How to Socialize a Puppy

What is the Right Age for Socializing Puppies?

If you are a new owner, you should know that the initial three months of your puppy's life are the most critical period for socialization, as it’s the time that shapes the dog's overall personality. During this period, the puppies learn how to deal with new experiences.

Newborn pups don't see and hear entirely until they are 2 to 4 weeks old and are born deaf with their eyelids closed. However, these puppies initially navigate by smelling for the initial few weeks of their lives; puppies use smell as their primary sense.

In the first two weeks, these canines sense through smell and touch, so you must handle your puppy immediately with gentleness so they can get comfortable with you. 

Once your puppy develops his hearing and seeing abilities, you should familiarize him with various sounds and noises, like clinging pots and vacuum cleaners, as it aids significantly in his neurological development.

Four to eight weeks is the time when puppies start growing stronger by seeking adventures and coordination. It's when they are up for new experiences as they start playing with the things around them and investigating the objects in their environment.

Let them play with challenging obstacles, squeaky toys, and puppy pens to teach them to play alone during this period. 

During 8 to 16 months, puppies learn that new people and animals are not dangerous; they initially get scared and fearful of strangers and unfamiliar faces, but gradually, when you socialize them, they realize how to deal with all such conditions.

How to Socialize a Puppy
How to Socialize a Puppy

How to Properly Socialize your Puppy?

Isn't socialization a lifelong process for all of us? But with puppies, the early foundation is the main chunk. The first three months of their lives shape their whole personality.

There are many processes involved in a puppy's socialization, from introducing him to new places to taking him to well-run classes; here are a few things you can do to socialize your pup correctly.

Start with Your Home and Family:

So the moment you take your puppy, you should help him learn new things till he reaches three months. For a newborn puppy, everything he encounters is new, unusual, and strange, so make him familiar with new sounds, faces, smells, voices, and views; this will help him learn different textures, noises, and smells.

Your house is undoubtedly your pup’s best class; introduce him to mirrors, brooms, TV, water, balloons, and whatnot. We have different sounds to make him familiar, like cars, lawnmowers, dishwashers, vacuum cleaners, and music. Let him deal with grass, carpets, puddles, sand, and tiles to teach him different textures. These things will help him learn new experiences every day.

To help your puppy experience new things, always bring them out of their comfort zone by introducing them to people and new faces. Involve your entire family in this socializing process so that your puppy can get acclimatized with all of them quickly.

Reward Them with Sweet Treats:

During this period, you ensure that everything your puppy encounters must be positive so that he doesn't get a negative image of the world around him. Always reward your puppy with some soft chewable treat for his behavior to encourage him to learn positivity.

These treats and praises will help them associate positive feelings with their exposures and encounters. Dogs are very good at reading emotions, so never show nervousness when introducing your puppy to big dogs or other pets, as it will automatically make them fearful.   

Introduce Your Puppy to Public Places:

Once you notice that your puppy has gotten a little comfortable with the household, it's time to introduce him to more significant and newer experiences.

Take them on puppy playdates with your friend’s canine so that they adapt to new situations. You can also take them to dog parks to expose them to other canines and conditions.

Public places are full of new experiences and lessons; make sure your puppy takes positive lessons from there to be termed as a well-trained pup.

Never Rush for Results:

As we said, it's a long process. Take your time introducing your puppy to new experiences and people daily; try getting him proverbial with the family members first and then gradually let him face strangers.

Similarly, don't plan new things every other day but let him get comfortable with the household sounds and things and then move him for different experiences; this will keep him calm and relaxed. An overwhelming introduction to places and people can get you bad results, so never rush for results.

Take your Pup to Puppy classes:

If you want your puppy to learn commands and obedience skills, then the best you can do is to take them to puppy classes. Once you have introduced your puppy to the first vaccines, you can enroll them in the classes.

These classes play a significant role in your puppy's socialization; they teach them obedience skills and are a great way to socialize with other puppies. The best thing about these classes is that your puppy gets exposed to other canines and new people, reducing the fear of meeting strangers from your pup.

Some skilled trainers train the puppies to learn new skills and experiences that benefit their development. 

Why Socializing Your Puppy is Important?

Socialization is essential as it lets your puppy acclimate to various views, noises, and smells. A well-socialized puppy is aware of different circumstances and doesn't get aggressive in times of fear.

Different pet owners also notice that if you don't socialize your puppy correctly, your pup faces several behavioral issues in the future, which can be life-threatening at times. Hence, socializing is very important for your puppy as it helps them to learn how to behave in certain conditions and situations. 

How to Socialize a Puppy
How to Socialize a Puppy

What Happens If Your Puppy Isn’t Socialized Properly?

Puppies that don't get proper socialization turn their fears into aggression, which harms them. When they reach adulthood, these puppies go through behavioral issues that become hazardous for their lives.

They develop fearful behavior toward strangers, which makes them excessively bark, lunge, snarl, and snap. The unsocialized puppies also become extremely fearful and stressed by the presence of other dogs and start hiding and yawning to avoid contact.

Your puppy may develop a few things if you don't socialize with him at the right age.

  • Your puppy would get frightened of meeting new people and experiences and develop anxiety while approaching new conditions.
  • Your pup would become reactive and would turn his fear into aggression. Under-socialized pups are unaware of stressful conditions and usually don't know how to react to such scenarios.
  • If a puppy isn't introduced to socialization, it becomes hard to handle, and you would find it difficult to groom him even. These puppies find brushing, teeth cleaning, and nail-clipping as torturing devices.
  • Under-socialized puppies become unadventurous, they find life outside their comfort zone frightening, and they become scared of adventures.
  • If a puppy is not exposed to dogs of different sizes and breeds at an early age, he becomes anxious and uneasy around other dogs.
How to Socialize a Puppy
How to Socialize a Puppy

How to Socialize Your Puppy Before Vaccination?

Socializing your puppy is as important as veterinary care. Dogs' owners usually get skeptical about whether it's safe for their puppies to go out before they are fully vaccinated.

You can introduce your puppy to different socialization classes at 7 to 8 weeks, as it's same time you should start their vaccines. Puppies get the final round of their Vaccination when they are 16 weeks old; till then, they are at risk of getting various infectious diseases.

But it would help if you did not stop them from socializing as it's certainly the right age for them to learn new experiences and how to react comfortably in unknown conditions. So it's recommended that you don't introduce them to places you know are disastrous for puppies.     

Generally, veterinarians recommend that you get the first round of vaccines and deworming of your puppy a week before you start socializing so that the risk of exposure to various infections is decreased. The first vaccine puppies receive DHLPP (distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis,  parainfluenza, and parvo).

The vaccine will reduce the chances of infections and prevent spreading contagious diseases to others. Avoid places like dog parks before your puppy has completed its vaccinations. A dog park is not one of the safest places for small dogs.

Ways to Socialize Puppy before Vaccination:

Start with your house; let your pup play in the backyard with other pets you know so that he can get familiar with them. You can also take your puppy to visit a friend or to meet other dogs, shopping, and even to your workplace; this would help him get familiar with different environments and situations.

The best place for socialization is public parks and your neighborhood; you can take your puppy on their stroller to parks and nearby areas to introduce them to new sights and sounds; through a stroller, you can avoid the risk of them getting infections.

You can also arrange a welcome party so your puppy meets all your friends and family in the safest atmosphere, like your house. All you need to do is never let them be unattended before the final vaccination so that they don't make contact with germs and viruses.

How Can You Plan Socialization Outings?

Short trips to shopping or grocery stores open a wide range of interactions your puppy doesn't get to see in his personal space. Try to socialize with your puppy in different outing spaces so that he develops a positive feeling about things he doesn't see at home.

  • You can take them to home improvement stores for a long walk.
  • Take them for lunch at a café to make them get the aura.
  • Take them to the shopping mall and stroll through the automatic doors to make him learn.
  • Take them to farms so your puppy can smell the odors of other animals. 
  • Our houses are usually calm and silent; take your pup to a noisy street to show him the hustle and bustle.
  • Take him to a nearby train station to introduce him to this transportation.

How to Properly Socialize Your Puppy with Other Dogs?

Puppyhood is when your puppy needs proper socialization; if you don't socialize during this stage, then chances are that it will always lunge, bark, or cower when seeing a stranger or new dog.

Proper socialization in the initial three months of your puppy's life is crucial; if you teach them properly, they will know to prevent aggression and fear while they are around other dogs. The best you can do is, introduce your puppy to another canine when they are as young as 6 to 7 weeks old so that they can associate with other dogs and not get stressed around them.

Once your puppy has received his first vaccines, start socializing them with other healthy and vaccinated dogs in the family and friends. It would be best if you had discerning eyes to make sound judgments about whom your puppy should meet.

Your puppy is in the early learning stage; it's when he is learning manners and etiquette, so make sure he meets beneficial dogs and doesn't teach him rough play. It would help to consider a few things when making your puppy socialize with other dogs. 

  • Initially, introduce your dogs to those canines that are well-mannered, obedient, friendly, and well-trained so that your puppy enjoys their company and adopts good habits from them.
  •  If you know a well-behaved dog around, you take them for a ride with your puppy so that you can instill good behavior in your puppy when he is around that dog.
  • You can also schedule play-dates with other dog owners twice or thrice a week; more opportunities with another canine will help your puppy socialize better.
  • Always allow your puppy to play with other dogs under your supervision, as dogs sometimes get annoyed with little pups, which can scare your puppy. 
  • Please ensure the first dog your puppy meets enjoys his energy and excitement; this will help him build a good rapport with other dogs.
  • Don't approach any other random dog for your puppy's meet-up once you know his personality, as it can be alarming for your pup’s safety.
How to Socialize a Puppy
How to Socialize a Puppy

Final Words on How to Socialize a Puppy

You need to know these things when you bring a puppy home; if you socialize your puppy early, it will be easier for you to teach him new things later.

Socializing your puppy is also significant for your puppy's health since more puppies die due to behavior issues than infectious diseases. So after you get a puppy from the breeder, you must follow the procedure above to socialize your little one. 

No one knows your pup better than you; you know his limits, liking, and capacity. Hence, it’s you who decides how you will take him on this journey, take baby steps in this process; slowly and gradually, he will learn.

Puppy socialization takes time, but the results are extremely gratifying and pleasant, making you believe that you did the right job. You have to be very cautious during this period.

It would be best if you kept a complete watch on your puppy when taking him to new places and adventures. If you notice any discomfort in his body, like if he growls, makes awkward postures, and starts aggressive staring, you must calmly divert his attention towards you or take them back home.

We hope this piece helps you find the details you were looking for in socializing your puppy and also helps you play an active role in his growth and development.   

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References and Further Reading:
[1] Official Standard of the Pomeranian (AKC). American Kennel Club, 2011.
[2] English Kennel Club Pomeranian Breed Standard, 2017.
[3] Denise Leo, The Pomeranian Handbook.
[4] Milo G. Denlinger "The Complete Pomeranian."
[5] Kimbering Pomeranians "1891-1991".
[6] William Taplin's "The Sportsman’s Cabinet."
[7]  E. Parker "The Popular Pomeranian."
[8] Lilla Ives "Show Pomeranians."