There are many things that influence our dogs’ quality of life and whether they are effectively able to cope in our modern human world without fears, phobias or behavior issues. We all want our puppies to become happy, confident, and emotionally stable adult dogs. By properly socializing your puppy during the critical socialization period, which is between 8-16 weeks, you can help your puppy live its very best life possible.
The socialization period is a critical period of development during which a puppy learns how to relate to other dogs, humans and the environment. This is the most influential learning period of your puppy’s life, forming the foundation of all future learning. By properly socializing your puppy during this critical period, you will prevent or significantly reduce many adult behavior problems. If you miss properly socializing your puppy during this critical window of time, you can never get it back, as lack of exposure in a positive way to as many different things as possible during this period will prevent your puppy from reaching its fullest potential.
Of significant importance while socializing your puppy is to be extraordinarily cautious to prevent exposing it to diseases before it is fully vaccinated. Puppies typically receive their final round of vaccinations around 16 weeks. Until your puppy is fully vaccinated, avoid allowing your puppy to walk on ground where other dogs have been that you are not sure are healthy. Dog parks are a definite no-go, as are pet supply stores unless you carry the puppy to, from and inside the store – the risk is too great for potential exposure to diseases in those places.
Pet friendly stores such as Cabela’s, Home Depot and Lowe’s are a great way to help your puppy experience lots of people, noises, smells, other dogs, moving things, and different environments. Carry your puppy from the car to the store and take a dog bed for your puppy to sit on in the shopping cart while you push it around the store. Your goal is to have your puppy experience lots of different people of all sizes, shapes, ethnicities and ages, animals of all types and sizes, a variety of noises, scents and moving objects – cars, trucks, bicycles, motorcycles, skateboards and joggers, new and novel objects and different surfaces under their feet.
The key to setting your puppy up for the happiest life possible is effective socialization by positive exposure to a variety of things while ensuring your puppy is having a positive experience. A properly run Puppy Socialization class such as ours will greatly benefit your puppy, as puppies teach each other bite inhibition and how to play appropriately as well as how to read dog body language. These are critical skills for your puppy to learn during this stage of its development.
Contact us for more information about our Puppy Socialization class!