SOCIALIZATION AND ACCLIMATION

Give Your Puppy the Confidence to Succeed

The first 16 weeks of your puppy’s life is the most critical time for him to establish a sound mind and confidence in the world around him. Take advantage of this time to bond with your puppy and carefully introduce him to all that he will experience in the coming years. By properly introducing your puppy to people, places, and things, you will significantly reduce the likelihood of him growing up to be fearful, anxious, or aggressive.

Begin slowly, and introduce your puppy to new situations at a distance and praise him as he becomes more confident and comfortable. If he is afraid, do not physically force him to be introduced to something or someone. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” certainly applies here, so consider socializing your puppy by introducing him to the following:

  • People
    Babies, children, adults of all ages, mail carriers, veterinarians, groomers, diverse racial groups
  • Places
    Urban settings, countryside, beaches, shopping centers, parks, veterinarian’s office, inside your car
  • Things
    Vacuum cleaners, umbrellas, bicycles/rollerblades, cars/trucks/buses, lawnmowers, stairs,
    brushes/nail clippers

It is also important to allow your puppy to meet and interact with other dogs. Let your puppy interact freely with other friendly dogs when there is not much interference. This early and positive interaction will help ensure that your puppy grows up with confidence and familiarity with common dog body language.

However, because your puppy’s immune system is still developing, be sure he does not interact with sick dogs. Also, before your dog has been vaccinated, be cautious when taking him to areas that are frequented by a lot of other dogs. Certainly, this does not mean you should not let your dog out of the house until he is fully vaccinated. Simply use common sense, talk with your veterinarian, and do not take your puppy to areas you feel may be unsanitary.