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How To Introduce Your Puppy To The World

Aug 17, 2007
Socializing your puppy is an important step in helping him find his place in the world of people and other dogs.

A puppy naturally begins socializing within the litter. But once he's removed from the litter, it's vital the socialization process continues in his new environment.

You want your puppy to grow up confident and comfortable in his surroundings. Able to meet strangers without cowering. Playful and interactive with new dogs. Never aggressive when encountering an unfamiliar situation.

Introducing Your Puppy To New People

Your puppy is going to grow up in a world full of people. Interaction is a natural part of that world. Whether it's the kids next door peeking over the fence. Or the UPS deliveryman standing in the front doorway. Or friends who have come to visit.

You want your puppy to enjoy these encounters and take them all in stride.

By exposing him to as many different people as possible while he's still between 6 and 12 weeks of age you can help him socialize.

Invite friends or neighbors over to meet your new puppy. Have them kneel down to his level and offer him a favorite dog biscuit. Make sure they don't use any sudden movements that might frighten him. And make sure your puppy receives praise for accepting the snack. This will help discourage shyness and fear.

Take him for walks to the park or the pet store or about the neighborhood, where he can meet new people. If strangers ask to pet him, make sure you praise your puppy for his good behavior and for remaining calm.

Take him to obedience classes, where he'll be around other dogs and people. If your puppy appears to panic in the midst of all the activity, don't force the issue. You can always try again later. But make sure you don't reassure him if he's fearful, either. This will only reinforce the behavior.

Basically, you want to take advantage of every opportunity to expose your puppy to new people. Each new experience will contribute to his growing confidence.

Introducing Your Puppy To New Dogs

A puppy first learns to socialize with his siblings. This interaction helps him learn to inhibit his biting and develop self-control. It also helps your puppy to expend all that puppy energy, making him much less hyperactive and destructive around the house.

So what can you do to help him after he's left the litter?

Puppy kindergarten and puppy training are both good ways to keep him interacting with other dogs. A local puppy socialization class is also a good choice. Or you might try heading down to your nearest dog park, which is always a great place to exercise your puppy while he meets other dogs.

All of these outings should be fun, without any pressure on your puppy to perform. Let him interact with the other dogs at his own leisure.

If none of those work for you, see if you can find a doggy day care service in your area. You can drop your puppy off on your way to work and let him spend the day playing and interacting with other dogs until you pick him up on your way home. Once a week is fine. More often if you'd like.

Finally, if you already have an older dog in the house, often he'll provide all the play and guidance your new puppy needs.

Introducing Your Puppy To New Situations

The modern world is full of stimuli for a puppy. There are car trips, televisions, vacuum cleaners, door bells, crying babies, fireworks, trips to the vet, music and hundreds of other new experiences.

Expose your puppy to as many of these situations as possible. The more, the better.

As before, however, don't push him into these experiences. Let him deal with them at his leisure. And when he reacts with fear, don't give him the wrong message by comforting him. This only reinforces his fear and will make it more difficult for him to deal with other new situations.

Socializing your puppy should be a fun process. Keep after it diligently, and you'll have a calm, confident, and friendly family companion.
About the Author
David Silva is the webmaster of Dog Training Unlimited. Visit us at: http://dogtrainingunlimited.com">
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