How to socialize a puppy correctly?

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The dog socialization It is an essential process in which the dog learns to relate to all kinds of people, animals and environments. It is a sensitive period that is essential for the dog to have a balanced and self-confident character in its adult stage. Nevertheless, ¿how to socialize a puppy properly? ¿What should we do and what should we avoid? We explain it to you in this AnimalWised article:

You may also be interested in: How to socialize a puppy cat? Index
  1. What is socialization?
  2. How to socialize a puppy with people?
  3. How to socialize a puppy with other dogs?
  4. How to socialize a puppy with other animals?
  5. Socialize the puppy with the environment
  6. Consequences of poor or no socialization
  7. Extra tips for puppy socialization

What is socialization?

Socialization is a sensitive period that begins at three weeks of life and ends around three months in which the friendly species recognition. Proper socialization allows the dog to interact with all kinds of people, whether we are talking about children, adults or the elderly, dogs and cats and even adapt correctly to different environments, such as the city, the mountains, the subway, etc..

The dog begins to socialize with his mother and siblings, learning the canine language, the typical behaviors of the species or the limits of the game among others. But, ¿at what age can puppies be separated from their mother? Ideally, do it between 8 and 10 weeks, before your socialization window is completely closed. At this point, he will already know how to interact with other dogs and people but will still be open to adapting to a new environment and its individuals.

Offer a wide range of positive experiences they will allow the dog to relate correctly in its adult stage. For this reason, we can affirm that socialization is a very important process in the life of any pet, just as it would be for a child..

How to socialize a puppy with people?

Dog socialization with people is essential in any environment. Dr. Ian Dunbar, veterinarian, ethologist and trainer, suggests a puppy should meet at least 1,000 people before one hundred months, however, as we know that this is not always possible, we encourage you to relate to people of all dude, let's talk about children, adults and the elderly.

It is essential that the interactions are always positive. It is not enough that the puppy is not afraid of people, but that he has to feel happy every time he meets someone. Also, socialization must occur voluntarily. This means that you do not have to force your puppy to get close to people, but let him do it of his own free will. This way you will avoid the appearance of fears and phobias.

It is likely that you will find informative pages that indicate that a dog should not be socialized with many people to be a good guardian, this theory is not only false, but it is also very dangerous. An incorrectly socialized dog that experiences fear or insecurity, even people can end up showing very serious aggressive behaviors that are very complicated and even impossible to solve in their adult stage.

Some tips for socializing a puppy with people are:

  • Invite your friends and family Have them visit your home and ask them to take a few minutes to pay attention to your dog. They can offer him a small piece of food, offer him some caresses, or play with him. Remember, interactions have to be positive.
  • Take your dog to the street so you see new people every day. If your dog still does not have the vaccination schedule up to date, carry it in your arms or in the travel cage to avoid contagion. You do not need to take it for a two-kilometer walk, walk to the corner and come back, take it when you go to the store, etc..
  • Habituate it to the presence of small children and babies. For this, allow him to approach small children and give him a little food when he is calm. In this way, you will associate young children with good things. Control these interactions very well so that children do not hurt your dog.
  • Socialization meetings between puppy dogs or puppy classes will also help you to socialize your dog with people because the owners of the other puppies are present.
  • Get your puppy used to being handled. To do this, caress it, pick it up, touch its paws, check its teeth, etc. Do all of this gently and gently, giving him a small piece of food when he sits still and allows you to manipulate him. It is highly recommended that other people also practice manipulation with your puppy. This will help you get used to this and accept vet check-ups with ease..

Basically, you must make your dog have fun with people. Of course, you have to take care that he does not get scared or hurt in any of these interactions. A negative experience could lead to unwanted behaviors. When your dog has all his vaccinations, daily walks they will serve to strengthen your socialization with people. So, you no longer need to invite friends just to meet your puppy..

During the socialization of your dog with people, you have to consider different types of people, we have already explained that you should introduce children, adults and the elderly, but also people of different ethnic origin, with different types of clothing (hats, coats, glasses ...), with different characteristics etc..

While it is important that you socialize your dog with people, you have to be aware that this has some risks. If your puppy isn't fully vaccinated yet, contagious diseases are a major risk. Take this into account so that you can take the corresponding security measures.

How to socialize a puppy with other dogs?

Dog socialization with other dogs is a process relatively easy to work with when it comes to eight week old puppies. At this stage, the dog will have been separated from its family at the optimal moment, so it will already have the basic notions to relate properly.

We can go to classes for puppies or look for other dogs in the same stage to relate them. It is important that they are sociable dogs and that, as in the previous case, they offer a positive experience to the dog. Socialization will happen on its own. Ideally, you should be able to introduce lots of dogs for your pup to play or interact with on a daily basis. We will try to find dogs of different races, colors and sizes.

How to socialize a puppy with other animals?

The socialization of the puppy with other animals is influenced by our lifestyle, the place where we live or the animals in the home. In the field, dogs are easily related to all kinds of animals: sheep, horses, cats, etc. But in the city it is more complicated. If we value the option of adopting a cat, rabbit or turtle in the future, we should consider it at this time and look for sociable individuals with which to be able to relate to our dog on a regular basis.

Remember that socialization must happen voluntarily. In other words, you don't have to force your puppy to get used to the other animals, but let him do it of his own free will. To socialize your puppy with other animals you have to take some precautions. You must take into account the safety of both your puppy and the other animals. For example, a good way to introduce cats and dogs is by placing the adult feline in a travel cage. In puppy cats it will not be necessary.

On the other hand, it is not a good idea to allow your puppy to play with small and fragile pets like hamsters. In this case, it will be better for your puppy to get used to ignoring these pets, since even playing can hurt them. If you live in a place where there is big animals, like cows and goats, you should also socialize your puppy with those animals by walking nearby and using positive reinforcement to associate their presence with pleasant things, such as petting, tasty treats, or play sessions.

Socialize the puppy with the environment

Finally we will talk about a last part, although not for that less important. We must remember that in our environment there are objects or other elements that the dog must know such as cars, bicycles or plants.

There are many dogs that in their adult stage chase, bite and even attack scooters. This is due to the lack of socialization with these objects, which have generated fear and insecurity in him. To do this, we will take our puppy to all kinds of parks and environments, especially if they are busy, to get used to the presence of all kinds of elements. If we live in a very quiet place, it may be interesting to introduce these elements gradually, so that a state of overexcitation does not occur..

Consequences of poor or no socialization

Preventing our dog from interacting with other people and animals, especially dogs, or not having access to different inmates is putting its well-being at risk, in addition, we can cause it to experience different types of behavioral problems, such as:

  • Fear of people
  • Fear of dogs
  • Unsafety
  • Aggression towards people
  • Aggression towards dogs
  • Separation anxiety
  • Stereotypes
  • Excitability
  • Destructiveness

In the most serious cases, when dogs live in poor environments without the possibility of interacting with other animals or people, the dog can develop the sensory deprivation syndrome in dogs, in which they are unable to relate correctly and present blockage, paralysis, rejection, uncontrolled barking, etc..

We must know that to a greater or lesser extent we can practically always work on the socialization problems of dogs, however, to socialize an adult dog or to solve a trauma in the dog, the guidelines that only a specialist can offer us may be necessary. In this case, the ideal is to go to a veterinarian specialized in ethology.

Extra tips for puppy socialization

Finally, we will add some extra tips, fundamental in this sensitive stage and on which a suitable character in adulthood will depend:

  • Socialization is a process that must be done gradually, we will avoid overexposing the dog to stressful environments or situations that can trigger an anxiety disorder.
  • Do not force your puppy to interact with other dogs or to experience an unpleasant situation, you could cause the appearance of fears and phobias.
  • Try that the experiences you offer are very varied and positive.
  • Practice the bite inhibition exercise every day so that your dog learns as soon as possible. Keep practicing it daily until your dog is four and a half months old, and even after. You don't need a lot of time for this, five minutes a day is enough.
  • Make short sessions of five minutes with videos from YouTube or similar in which you can put different sounds to your dog, such as storms, firecrackers, birds, etc. This will help you get used to them and not experience fear..
  • Start by teaching him some basic dog obedience commands promptly, always as a game, so his mind is always active and stimulated..
  • Get your dog used to traveling by car, to using the collar and leash, even before having to go outside, this way he will know how to walk when the time comes.

If you have any questions then we advise you go to your trusted vet, who will talk to you in detail about all the needs in terms of socialization or care that a puppy dog ​​requires. Remember that puppy dog ​​care are essential for their development, ¡make sure to offer him a quality diet among many other details!

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