Socializing your puppy can seem a little daunting if you’re a new pet owner, but socialization is a hugely important part of your puppy’s upbringing. Pups that aren’t socialized when they are young will be more frightened when encountering children, people or even other dogs, and therefore tend to act more aggressive towards strangers and other pups as they get older. It’s important to introduce your puppy to a wide range of experiences while they are young to will teach them that not every new experience they have is necessarily bad.
Experts differ slightly on the timing, but typically, your puppy’s socialization window starts as soon as you take them home, and lasts until they are about 12 or 16 weeks of age. When you’re socializing your pup, there are a few things you should keep in mind. Let’s take a look at a few tips for getting your new puppy used to playing with others.
Meeting New People
When your puppy is meeting a person for the first time, make sure to keep your pup on their leash. Letting your pup have the ability to run towards a new person and jump up on them encourages that this behavior is acceptable. Instead, keep your puppy’s leash on and keep them from jumping up on the new person. Once your pup has calmly greeted the new person with some sniffs and licks, give your puppy a treat or some food. This will reinforce the idea that even though this person is new and strange, there’s nothing for them to be afraid of.
If you’re introducing your pup to a new person who seems to scare him or her off, ask your friend to ignore the puppy and just have a seat, suggests dog trainer Jolanta Benal. Let your puppy approach your friend at his or her own pace, and reward good behavior with treats and praise – but don’t try to bribe your pup into making friends.
Meeting New Puppies
You want to make sure that you’re teaching your puppy manners that will keep your pup and the pups around you safe and happy while they play. When your puppy is socializing with other dogs for the first time, it’s important to let them play and explore off their leash, noted Benal. This will encourage your pup to learn the behaviors of other dogs and will ultimately teach them to be good socializers.
It’s important when your puppy is learning to play off-leash that you intervene quite frequently, according to Canine Craze. Puppies tend to get very excited when they are playing with a new dog, and over-excitement can lead to dangerous play that can turn aggressive by one dog or the another quite quickly. Make sure to break up the play between your pup and another dog every 15 to 20 seconds while they are still testing one another’s limits and boundaries. Once you do this often enough, your puppy will learn the behavior, and naturally take breaks to check in with you while he or she is playing.
If your puppy is skittish and very aggressive towards new people or experiences – which is not unusual – you may want to speak with a behavior specialist. We do our best to socialize our labradoodle puppies here with other pups and our family, but sometimes even the best-natured puppy can be set awry in the right situation or with a lack of attention and training. Your puppy might need some extra care to learn and retain good behavior, and could potentially benefit from additional training classes.
For more information about socialization, and to learn more tricks and tips for raising a healthy and well-behaved puppy, keep checking back to our blog. To learn more about our upcoming litters or to inquire about reserving a puppy, call us today at 877-850-2022.