Socializing Your Puppy: It Matters!

What could be more delightful?  You’ve adopted an adorable young puppy with bright eyes, a wagging tail, and that frequently terrible breath that their cuteness makes us overlook every time.  He’s home, and he’s learning about his new surroundings, and how to crush house training.  

What’s also important is socializing your new buddy.  Socializing is about teaching your puppy to be comfortable with novelty. Most of us humans are suspicious of unfamiliar things that we don’t understand, and dogs are no different.  When a puppy is socialized, they look at the unfamiliar as normal and no cause for concern.  That means your dog can be comfortably at your side when you go to any number of places, like friends’ homes, hiking trails, or even just running errands.

Socialization goes a long way toward preventing behavior problems later in life, including fear, anxiety, and aggression.  It’s a win/win when your dog is socialized; they will be happier, and so will you, having a companion who isn’t worried or antagonistic.

So, how to begin the process?  Here are some tips for working with your dog:

  1. Go at your dog's pace. Socialization isn't about "meet as many people and dogs as you can" - it's about quality meetings. Introduce your pup to nice people and friendly dogs, and let your pup choose their approach and interactions.


  1. Socialization doesn’t just involve other animals and people! Socialize your pup to different surfaces like wood floor, carpet, and tile, get them used to stairs, and being in different places.


  1. Don't forget the vet clinic as part of your socializing too - all dogs have to go at some point, and a dog who learns the vet isn't a scary place will be happier for medical care. Ask your vet if you can do "happy visits" where you bring your new pup for staff to love on without any vaccines or other stressful care.

You’ll know the process is working when your puppy shows signs of being confident and wanting to explore and approach new people, animals and items.  If they’re unsure, they’ll look to you for guidance.  

An unsocialized dog is often in a state of uncertainty or anxiety, and that can manifest in aggressive behavior that is fear-based. All too often, we have seen these dogs surrendered to Dakin when they become difficult to keep at home or react in an unpleasant way to situations - or people - that they aren’t familiar with.

We want everyone to know the joy of a healthy pet/person bond with their dogs. Take advantage of the upcoming warm weather to spend time with your new puppy and let the socialization begin!

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