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How to Socialize a Puppy

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Published in Dog 101, Training

There is nothing more exciting than bringing a new puppy home!

While it may be tempting to snuggle and play with your new baby all day, there are many things a responsible owner must do to make sure their rambunctious pup grows up to be a well-rounded dog.

Handling

Puppies need to be touched. Squeeze their paws, rub their ears, and get them acquainted with different ways of being handled. Going to groomer and vet appointments will be made much easier once a pup is okay with getting jostled around. The more you desensitize them to being touched, the less likely they will be to fight back.

Passing

Play pass the puppy! It’s recommended that puppies meet at least 100 people by the time they reach 6 months of age. Yes, 100 people — few can resist the opportunity to play with a puppy so this will be a piece of cake. Have them hold him as well as touch his ears and feet. Be sure the pup is properly supported when they are being passed around; falling from arm’s height can be dangerous and traumatic!

Feeding

If a puppy is not used to a human’s presence near his food bowl, it could lead to aggressive behavior in the future. A dog may become aggressive when approached by people if they were food-protective at a young age. Contact a professional as soon as possible if your puppy exhibits warning signs and try to get him comfortable with your presence while he chows down.

Playing

Puppies are bundles of energy! Spend time teaching him games like hide and seek or fetch to burn off energy and enrich his mind. Handle and take away your pup’s toys so he does not become protective. If you see signs of aggression when toys are removed, consult a professional to help fix this behavior.

Teaching

There are a few simple commands every puppy should know: sit, come, down, leave it, and drop it. Enroll your pooch in a puppy school as soon as they are able to go. Puppy classes will show you how to train little Fido properly and provide a safe place for him to socialize with other dogs his age. Look at reviews and ask around for nearby reputable trainers.

Play Groups

Contrary to common belief, puppies shouldn’t be sheltered as a human baby might. Doing so will lead to a dog that cannot properly socialize with others. Finding a puppy play group will help your pup become social, civil, and confident in the presence of other dogs. You can arrange a group with fellow puppy parents in the classes mentioned above!

Puppies and Kids

Children and puppies must learn how to behave around each other in order for your dog and family to live harmoniously. The pup needs to know that when little Jimmy pulls his tail, he is not allowed to nip back. Little Jimmy should know that he can’t pull the pup’s tail or else he will be nipped at. These situations can run a fine line, but mutual respect should be established between kids and puppies early on. Never leave a child alone with a dog under any circumstances — a disaster can happen in the blink of an eye.

Dealing With Frightened Puppies

Just like a baby, puppies are experiencing everything for the first time. When he first hears the vaccum turn on or feels a strong gust of wind, he will hide and cower. You might want to scoop him up and tell him “It’s okay!”, but this will only validate his fear. Act like nothing happened and let your puppy realize that it wasn’t a big deal.

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