So you’ve decided to bring home a new puppy! You and your family may be basking in all of the cuteness of this little pup, from the kisses to funny barks to the playfulness. But the honeymoon doesn’t last forever, and it’s essential that you properly socialize and train your puppy to prevent any potential behaviour issues. When dogs are socialized from a young age, they can better cope with new humans, other animals, and different situations. Here are our tips for socializing your puppy.
Take it slow
Your puppy is young and small, and many experiences are new to her. Meeting new people and animals may seem benign to you, but these situations can cause your puppy to become fearful and anxious. Don’t attempt to desensitize your pet by forcing her into scary situations, which may even backfire and lead to an even more anxious or aggressive dog. Slowly introduce your pup to new people and pets, and set boundaries to keep your dog comfortable.
Know the signs of stress
While introducing your puppy to new people, pets, and experiences, watch her closely for signs of fear, anxiety, or stress, including:
- Cowering or attempting to hide
- Hugging or holding onto you
- Nipping or snapping
- Growling or snarling
- Excessive lip licking
- “Whale eye” (head turned away, but eyes remaining on the perceived threat)
- Furrowed brow
- Raspy panting
If you notice these signs in your pet, remove her from the situation immediately. If your puppy is exhibiting signs of stress regularly, reach out to us.
Create positive experiences
Proper socialization is more than simply exposing your puppy to new experiences. Help your dog develop positive associations with new people, pets, places, and sounds by providing high-value treats or toys and plenty of praise during each new experience. Be sure to do this before your dog has decided that she’s scared. Veterinary visits and grooming appointments are great times to provide extra treats and praise for your pup. Also, attempt to introduce your dog to a variety of people and pets, including different species, breeds, genders, and ages.
If you have any questions or concerns about socializing your new puppy, we’re here to help! Contact us.