Socializing is a critical task when you bring a new pup into your home. But there are good and bad ways to approach dog socialization. What’s more, you only have a small window to work with your pup to help them build a strong and confident attitude.
Dogs that aren’t socialized properly can experience stress and fear in the face of new things, and this can pose long-term challenges for you and your pup.
Socialization teaches puppies how to react to things in the world, including humans, other dogs, and objects. Dogs that are properly socialized aren’t afraid of new things and don’t respond with undesirable behaviors.
In other words, social dogs are happy dogs, and there are steps you can take to set your four-legged friend on the path to a happy and social life!
Four Tips to Help You Socialize a Dog
1. Start Early
Puppies have a critical development period between 8 and 16 weeks, so socialization must start early. When you give your pup a chance to build a good foundation of experience during this time, they’ll spend the rest of their lives approaching new things with curiosity and interest instead of fear.
2. Introduce them to 100 New Things in 100 Days
Try to introduce your new puppy to as many things as possible when they’re between 8 and 16 weeks old. Aim for one new thing every day for 100 days. Here are some examples of new things you can introduce your pup to:
- Other dogs
3. Give Your Pup a Chance to Explore on Their Own
When you introduce your pup to something new, give them a chance to check out their surroundings and leave them to look, sniff, smell, and touch new objects.
If your pup gets scared, remain calm and quiet. Give them the opportunity to engage again with the object that made them uncomfortable. Your pup going back to smell, lick, chew, and explore the new object is socialization in action!
4. Keep Your Pup Safe with Guided Interactions
While it’s important to let your pup explore, you still have to keep them safe and comfortable, especially when you’re introducing them to children or other dogs.
Keep interactions short, simple, calm, and quiet, and don’t force your pup into anything. You can use the Heather’s Heroes Sidekick to guide interactions. Your dog won’t be able to run away, but they also won’t get overwhelmed.
How to Socialize a Dog Who Wasn’t Socialized as a Puppy
When an unsocialized adult dog encounters something new, they’ll probably react with fear. But that doesn’t mean you can’t help an older dog who lacks social skills or is afraid or nervous in new situations.
So how do you socialize an adult dog? Patience is critical, but the Heather’s Heroes Sidekick can also help with older pups. It lets you take advantage of pressure points, encouraging a calmer state of mind. The Sidekick has helped thousands of dogs overcome fear, reactivity, anxiety, and excitement.
Visit Heather’s Heroes today and start socializing your pup the right way with the help of the Sidekick.