A Social Puppy

Well socialized puppies develop into more enjoyable, safer, and more relaxed pets.  Socializing your dog makes them more comfortable in a wide variety of situations and they are less likely to behave fearfully or aggressively to new people, dogs, or experiences.  Socialization is a big project. It requires exposure to the types of people, animals, places, sounds and experiences that you expect your dog to be comfortable in later in life. Depending on the lifestyle you have planned for your dog, this might include the sight and sound of trains, garbage trucks, schoolyards of screaming children, crowds, cats, livestock or crying infants.  The rule of thumb with puppy socialization is to keep a close eye on your puppy’s reaction to whatever you expose him to so that you can tone things down if your pup seems at all frightened. Always follow up a socialization experience with praise, petting, a fun game or a special treat.  Most young animals, including dogs, are naturally made to be able to get used to the everyday things they encounter in their environment—until they reach a certain age. When they reach that age, they are naturally made to become much more suspicious of things they haven’t yet experienced. Mother Nature is smart! This age-specific natural development lets a young puppy get comfortable with the everyday sights, sounds, people and animals that will be a part of his life. It ensures that he doesn’t spend his life jumping in fright at every blowing leaf or bird song. The later suspicion they develop in later puppyhood also ensures that he does react with a healthy dose of caution to new things that could truly be dangerous.  Great ways to socialize your pet are going to the dog park, taking your dog to a pet friendly store where they can be exposed to many things, and group training classes.  Even a walk in the neighborhood is great.  Just remember, start slowly and see what is best for your individual pet.

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